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Number of patients waiting at least a year for treatment highest since 2008

Written by on 12 November 2020

The number of people waiting more than a year to start non-coronavirus hospital treatment in September was the highest of any month since 2008, new data reveals.

In England there were 139,545 patients left waiting more than 52 weeks to start their hospital treatment – up from just 1,305 in September 2019.

The most recent figure is the highest recorded in more than a decade, according to the NHS report.

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The number of patients admitted to hospitals in England for non-coronavirus routine treatment was also down 27% on the same time a year ago, the NHS England figures show.

Last month the number of people going to A&E was down 26.4% on October 2019, the data also reveals.

“The number of attendances reported are significantly lower than the same month last year and are likely to be a result of the COVID-19 response,” the report says.

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According to the new data, NHS hospitals in England missed a number of their cancer targets as well.

In September only 86.2% of cancer patients were seen by a specialist within two weeks of a GP referral – with a target of 93%.

In total, 94.5% of cancer patients began their treatment within a month of being referred – with a target of 96%.

In September, a third of patients were left waiting more than six weeks for tests such as MRI and CT scans, ultrasounds and gastroscopies.

The NHS target is that just 1% of patients should be waiting more than six weeks.