The NHS waiting list continued to grow in April, indicating the current crisis is unlikely to abate as we move into warmer months.
Figures from NHS England show 83,000 more patients joined the waiting list, meaning there are now 7.42m people waiting for treatment. This is up on the 7.33m waiting in March, and almost 1m more than the 6.53m on waiting lists one year ago.
There has also been an increase in the number of people waiting over a year for treatment, which had been falling in recent month. This increased tto 371,111 in April – up from 359,798 in March.
Broadstone head of health and protection Brett Hill says: “After appearing to plateau over the winter, waiting lists are now climbing yet again. The NHS continues to function at breaking point with little signs of any pressures in the system abating.”
He says it is particularly worrying that the number of people waiting over a year for treatment is growing again, as this can lead to missed diagnoses and drive more serious or complex health conditions.
This news comes at the same time as the Royal College of Radiographers report staff shortages and long waiting times for cancer tests and treatment across all four nations of the UK.
Hill adds: “The crisis is leading to renewed debate over how we deliver healthcare in the UK. Employers increasingly recognise that they can no longer rely on the NHS to keep their colleagues healthy and help them back to work should they suffer from a longer-term illness.
“With surging economic inactivity and staff shortages hurting businesses, this is driving strong demand for healthcare plans like private medical insurance. We have seen private health admissions hit their highest ever level in 2022, accelerating throughout the year, and this growth is expected to continue as more businesses see the need to take responsibility for protecting their staff’s health and wellbeing.”