HomeHealthNHS: UK Hospital Waiting Lists Hit Record Highs

NHS: UK Hospital Waiting Lists Hit Record Highs

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a moment of truth for his embattled government, as NHS data this week revealed hospital waiting lists for routine procedures have reached an unprecedented crisis point.

The latest statistics show 7.7 million patients in the United Kingdom (UK) now languishing in treatment backlogs – up over 100,000 since June. Even more alarming, the number waiting over a year continues rising, flouting targets to eliminate 18-month waits by April. Waits exceeding two years inexplicably persist too.

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The dire new records intensify pressure on Sunak’s bold pledge to slash backlogs rapidly before the expected 2024 general election – a vote where NHS strains will take center stage.

Since December 2022, a barrage of healthcare staff strikes has already forced over 885,000 appointment cancellations, with further disruptive walkouts looming. Cancer targets have been widely missed, signaling delays and immense staffing pressures.

While the government trumpeted marginal waiting time improvements in selected areas, over 40% still wait over 18 weeks, versus a target of only 8%. Critics lambasted “Inaction Man” Sunak for allowing backlogs to fester through chronic underfunding and passivity.

With patients now languishing in agony for months, and staff morale plummeting, fears are growing that an NHS breaking point may be imminent. Come election time, Sunak faces a Herculean challenge convincing millions trapped in record waiting lists that relief is near.

From missed A&E time targets to spiraling cancer treatment delays, the NHS is undeniably in a state of emergency. Voters will demand urgent solutions from Sunak, not excuses and half-measures.

The ominous data leaves little doubt – without radical action now, Britain’s NHS risks being reduced to a skeletal, emergency-only service. Taming the raging backlog beast may ultimately define Sunak’s political fate.

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Shanaz Khan
Shanaz Khan
Shanaz Khan, Co-founder, COO & UK Editorial Lead

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