Healthwatch England responds to NHS waiting times
Figures from NHS England show 7.2 million people were waiting to start routine treatment at the end of October, up from 7.1 million in September.
Around 1,907 people in England were waiting for planned treatment, such as hip or knee replacements more than two years at the end of October, which is down slightly from 2,239 at the end of September.
However, an estimated 410,983 people in England had been waiting more than 52 weeks, up from 404,851 at the end of September.
Commenting on the new data, our national director, Louise Ansari said:
“The NHS is committed to bringing down the backlog in planned care. However, there’s still a huge number of people who need support. And while fewer people are waiting over 18 months for appointments, the average time it takes most people to get care continues to be very high.
"With this trend likely to continue, we need to see a renewed push to support people to cope while they wait. We're particularly concerned about the impact waiting without support has on people's mental health and ability to work or care for loved ones. Our evidence also shows that women, those on lower incomes, and people from minority ethnic backgrounds are the most likely to be affected.
"It’s critical that work continues to support people while they wait. People need reassuring that the NHS is still there to help them, that they haven’t been forgotten and that the information and support they need are available. This means better communication so they know how long they will have to wait, better support with pain management and prioritising those in greatest need.”