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Record breaking number of people waiting for hospital treatment

By Ellie McGuinness

Published In: Clinical Negligence - Hospital and Surgery

Data published by NHS England shows that at the end of August 2022 a record breaking 7 million people are waiting for hospital treatment in England. Of those, some 387,527 patients are waiting more than 52 weeks for their treatment to start.

nhs ambulance

Whilst this backlog has no doubt been made worse by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately this situation is not entirely new. Prior to the pandemic there were already 4.43 million people waiting for treatment in England, and over the last two years this number has steadily increased meaning the demand for hospital treatment now far outstrips capacity.

One area particularly affected by this backlog is the average wait time for urgent cancer referrals. NHS England’s target for patients who receive an urgent cancer referral from their GP is that 90 percent will have a consultation appointment within two weeks. Worryingly, the percentage of patients actually being seen within two weeks is far below that target at only 75.6 percent.

This increasing backlog alongside ongoing pressures on the NHS, staffing issues, and continuing infection control measures means that this number is unlikely to improve any time soon and as a result the British Medical Association is calling for immediate action to be taken to prevent waiting lists growing any further.

The resulting impact of all this is that many people are suffering ongoing symptoms and pain, not getting the diagnosis they need and suffering deterioration of health conditions, whilst they wait for treatment to begin.

Switalskis represents many individuals in clinical negligence claims who have suffered delays in diagnosis or delays in starting treatment which have led to tragic consequences.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of this increasing backlog of hospital waiting times, please do get in touch with our expert team so that we can begin to support you. Call 0800 138 0458 or email

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Ellie has worked in the legal sector for two years. She is a Trainee Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team.

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