More than 5.8 million patients were waiting to receive treatment from the NHS in September, the highest reported figure since August 2007. In addition, last month saw a record number of calls to ambulance services, with response times also experiencing a significant increase. The Independent has the story.
The average response time for category two patients who needed emergency, but not life threatening, care such as strokes, was nearly 54 minutes, which is the longest average waiting time since records began in 2017.
Response times for urgent calls, such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes, averaged three hours, nine minutes and 58 seconds. This is up from two hours, 35 minutes and 45 seconds in September, and again is the longest average since current records began.
The Independent has previously revealed ambulance response times doubled during the pandemic, as all 10 ambulance services raised their alert levels to the highest point.
The investigation found a 26% spike in the most serious incidents reported by paramedics so far in 2021 compared to the whole 12 months of 2019, before the Covid pandemic began.
Patients waiting for more than 12 hours in A&E also reached the highest levels ever in October, with 7,059 waits recorded. This is more than five times higher than the number of 12 hour waits recorded in October 2020, which saw 1,268 patients waiting.
Meanwhile there were 121,000 patients waiting over four hours in A&E, following a decision to admit, during the same month, which is the highest number on record.
The number of patients waiting more than year for treatment has also risen for the first time in five months, from 292,138 in August to more than 300,566 in September.
A total of 12,491 people in England were also waiting more than two years to start routine hospital treatment at the end of September 2021.
This is up from 9,754 at the end of August and is more than four times the 2,722 people who were waiting longer than two years in April.
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