The number of patients waiting more than the NHS’ 18 week target for treatment has reached almost three quarters of a million.
The latest figures show that of the patients on the waiting list at the end of December 2019, 83.7% had been waiting less than 18 weeks, thus not meeting the 92% standard.
Official guidance says 92% of NHS patients should have to wait
no longer than 18 weeks – but less than 84% actually do
The number of patients waiting over the 18 week referral to treatment target was 722,000 in December 2019.
The government’s target to ensure 92% of patients wait no longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment for elective procedures, such as hip and knee operations, has not been met since February 2016.
David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, argued that urgent action must be taken stop any further deterioration in patient access to care.
“Alongside extra investment promised by the government we need to put more power in the hands of patients,” he said. “Patients have a legal right to choose where they receive their NHS care, including finding a provider with lower waiting times.”
The latest NHS Digital figures show that in some areas three quarters of people are not aware of their right to choose.