Sunday 9 June 2019 / 9:19 AM Jonathan Ashworth / NHS

Labour reveals quarter of a million more patients waiting over 18 weeks for treatment

New research by Labour reveals that the number of people forced to wait over 18 weeks for treatment has nearly doubled since 2011 – an increase of 262,965 patients.

Some specialisms have seen drastic increases in patients waiting over 18 weeks:

  • 206% increase in long waits for dermatology treatments (e.g. eczema, warts and verrucas) – an increase of 14,159 patients between 2011 and 2019.
  • 205% increase in long waits for neurology treatments (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and epilepsy) – an increase of 11,922 patients between 2011 and 2019.
  • 188% increase in long waits for rheumatology treatments (e.g. arthritis, spinal pain and osteoporosis) – an increase of 5,506 patients between 2011 and 2019.
  • 164% increase in long waits for Ear, Nose & Throat treatments (e.g. hearing loss, laryngitis and chronic tonsillitis) – an increase of 27,669 patients between 2011 and 2019.

For nearly every type of treatment, the Government is missing its 92% flagship target.

Performance against the NHS Constitution’s target for at least 92% of patients to wait less than 18 weeks for treatment for an elective procedure has not been met since February 2016. This is a target enshrined in the NHS constitution.

Under Theresa May, the number of patients across the NHS stuck on waiting lists has breached the 4 million mark for the first time in over a decade.

In total, the number of patients stuck on NHS waiting lists has increased by 1.7 million in the eight years since February 2011, to 4.1 million in February 2019.

NHS England is currently reviewing proposals to axe both the NHS’ core access targets- the four-hour emergency and the 18-week standards.

Labour’s findings have been verified by the House of Commons Library.

Responding to Labour’s findings, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

“These figures are shocking and behind every statistic is an anxious patient waiting longer in pain risking their health deteriorating further.

“Rather than playing leadership games it’s time the Health Secretary focused on his day job and got a grip of the deep problems facing the NHS.”