Few were surprised last week when new statistics detailing the extent of NHS waiting lists emerged. The degree to which delays were impacting on the nation’s most disadvantaged, however, was more dramatic than even the most pessimistic predictions.


Analysis by the King’s Fund, shared with the BBC’s Panorama, found waiting times for treatment had increased by 50% in poorer areas, compared with just 35% in more affluent places.


The NHS waiting list backlog is now at 5.61 million, the equivalent of almost one in every ten people in England. NHS England’s own performance statistics show 1.8 million patients have already waited at least 18 months for treatment – more than double the 860,309 people who were in that situation in March 2020.


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