Record NHS waiting list hits 7.5million amid fears strikes 'will have biggest impact yet' | The Sun

NHS waiting lists have continued to soar to record highs, official data shows.

Some 7.47million people were queuing for routine surgeries in May, up from 7.42million the month before.

It comes as junior doctors downed tools for the first of five days today, prompting health bosses to warn that waiting times will continue to grow.

Sir Stephen Powis, of the NHS, said: “While staff will continue to work hard to provide patients with care, there is no doubt this action is likely to have the biggest impact yet."

The NHS also saw its busiest June ever for A&E attendances in June “no doubt exacerbated by the record high temperatures”, he said.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, said: “As we enter the junior doctors’ five-day strike, waiting lists are at a record high.

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“Chronic workforce shortages and a lack of physical capacity across the NHS and social care are hindering trusts’ ability to improve waiting times and cut the backlog. 

“On top of that, ongoing industrial action is adding to the weight of demand on hospital, ambulance, mental health and community services.”

Health minister Maria Caulfield last week admitted the list would continue to grow before it falls, insisting the rise was caused by more procedures being offered.

Cutting the list remains one of the Government’s five key priorities but hospital chiefs warn ongoing industrial action could see ministers fail to meet targets.

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Rishi Sunak today pledged to offer junior doctors a pay rise of 6 per cent in a bid to quell tensions, but the increase must come from within existing budgets.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which is organising the strikes, is demanding a pay bump of up to 35 per cent and said ministers are refusing to meet over the wage row.

MPs slammed the ever-growing waiting list and said the walkouts were causing appointments and operations to be binned.

Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “Patients are waiting months and months for operations, only for them to be cancelled due to strikes.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “This should be a watershed moment.

“More than 1 in 10 people in our country are now waiting for routine hospital treatment, with millions of them now too sick to work.”

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