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NHS wait list rise reveals ‘huge mountain’ to climb to fix health service

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NHS waiting lists have risen to their highest level this year at 7.6million.

The second monthly rise in a row is a setback for hospitals and shows the new Government has a mountain to climb to fix the “broken” health service.

Demand for NHS help is higher than last year (stock image)

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Demand for NHS help is higher than last year (stock image)Credit: Alamy

Medics also said they had the busiest ever June in A&E with 2.3million visitors and extra stress from the heatwave and doctors’ strikes.

NHS England’s medical director, Prof Sir Stephen Powis, admitted: “Everyone recognises that waiting times are currently far from what the public have a right to expect.”

Figures show the number of people waiting for treatment increased from 6.29m in March to 6.38m in May.

The number had reduced between September and March but has rebounded.

The new government has a tough road ahead

Professor Vivien LeesThe Royal College of Surgeons in England

Meanwhile the NHS continued to miss targets on seeing people quickly in A&E and starting cancer treatment on time.

It comes as the new Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, announced a “warts and all” audit of NHS performance.

Sarah Scobie, of the Nuffield Trust think-tank, said: “These figures underline the enormous uphill battle the new government faces to get the NHS back on track.”

The Health Foundation said they were “a stark reminder of the huge mountain to climb”.

Professor Vivien Lees of the Royal College of Surgeons said: “The new government has a tough road ahead to cut NHS waiting times as promised. 

“Hundreds of thousands of patients have been on waiting lists for months and even years.

“They will be hopeful that plans for the NHS outlined during the election will be put into action quickly.”

NHS TARGETS VS REALITY

NHS hospitals and ambulance services in England are off track on most of their performance targets.

Here are the most recent data for May and June:

Target: See 95% of A&E visitors within four hours Reality: 75%

Target: Respond to Category 2 ambulance calls within 18 minutes Reality: 34 minutes 38 seconds

Target: Treat 92% of waiting list patients within 18 weeks Reality: 59%

Target: Treat 85% of cancer patients within 2 months of first referral Reality: 66%

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