Routine hospital treatments have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. WAITING time for regular operations has shooted up. 

NHS figures show that the number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for routine checkups in England is the highest ever recorded.

According to the NHS, the numbers have risen to more than 1.85 million in June.

Statistics from NHS England also show that urgent cancer referrals reduced by 1/5th in the same month previous year, rising to 43 percent for breast cancer.

Head of policy and influence at Macmillan Cancer Support, Sara Bainbridge, stated that the figures were  “worryingly low” and suggest “an alarming backlog of undiagnosed cancer” and an increasing number of patients yet to begin treatment.

Around 1.6 million attendances were recorded in July. The figure was almost 2.3 million in the same month last year. Emergency admissions were almost down by 15 per cent from 554,069 in July 2019 to 472,646.

Dr Nick Scriven, the immediate ex president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “These are worrying times for the NHS given the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 in addition to all of the other pre-existing issues such as bed capacity, staffing, funding and social care provision.

“Performance remains poor and concerning and, with what we know will be a challenging winter ahead, it will take more than a token cash injection announced by the Prime Minister this week to make up for years of neglect.

“We are particularly worried by the ongoing crisis in accessing diagnostic tests with the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key tests at 540,600 – 47.8 per cent of the total number of patients waiting – which, given the target is one per cent, is scandalous.”