6m people on hospital waiting lists in England
The number of people on a hospital waiting list in England has hit 6 million for the first time, NHS data shows.
Around one in 20 of those have been waiting more than a year.
This figure is for the end of November and covers operations such as knee and hip surgery. That is before Omicron hit so it is likely these figures will have worsened.
Meanwhile, waits in A&E reached record worst levels in December.
Just over 73% of those who arrived at an emergency department were seen in four hours.
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Record delays were also seen for those who needed a bed on a ward.
More than 120,000 people who were admitted spent more than four hours waiting for a bed – nearly a third of the total.
“Despite this, once again, NHS staff pulled out all the stops to keep
services going for patients.”
Nearly 13,000 waited over 12 hours – another record high since records began in 2010.
NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said Omicron was putting huge pressures on hospitals not just because fo the numbers of patients being admitted – around 2,000 a day on average – but also because of staff absences.
But he added: “Despite this, once again, NHS staff pulled out all the stops to keep services going for patients.”