More than 15,000 patients left waiting months for treatment at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals were still in limbo at the end of October, the latest figures reveal.
The Patients Association says long waits can be unbelievably stressful, and blames a “familiar cocktail” of underfunding, poor planning and higher demand for increased waiting times.
According to NHS rules, anyone referred by their doctor for non-urgent consultant-led care should start treatment within 18 weeks.
But NHS England statistics show that 15,252 patients due to be treated at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust had been waiting longer than that at the end of October – 29% of those on the waiting list. The figures quoted only cover those still waiting to start treatment, and do not account for how long patients who started treatment waited.
Lucy Watson, chairwoman of the Patients Association, said that longer waits for patients were “unacceptable”.
She added: “The rising trend in waiting times is very clearly attributable to the familiar cocktail of sustained NHS underfunding, poor planning and stewarding of the NHS workforce, and rising levels of patient need linked to demographic change.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said there are 19,300 more doctors on wards than in 2010.
She added that the Government is funding an extra 1,500 university places for future doctors alongside “ambitious” plans to increase the NHS workforce, backed by increased funding worth £33.9 billion extra a year by 2023-24.