NHS waiting list hits record high as 7.6m on hold for treatment

The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has hit a record high.

An estimated 7.68 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of July, up from 7.57 million in June.

It is the highest number since records began in August 2007 and marks the eighth consecutive month of increases.

Figures also showed a total of 389,952 people in England had been waiting more than a year – and around 7,289 people more than 18 months – to start routine hospital treatment at the end of July, the data showed.

This is up from 383,083 – and 7,177 – at the end of June, respectively.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made cutting waiting lists one of his priorities for 2023, pledging in January that “lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly”.

The government and NHS England set the ambition of eliminating all waits of more than 18 months by April this year, excluding exceptionally complex cases or patients who choose to wait longer – and all waits of more than a year by March 2025.

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