The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high.

5.6 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of July 2021, according to figures from NHS England published this morning

More than 325,000 patients in England had been waiting more than six weeks for a key diagnostic test in July while A&E attendances at hospitals in England last month were 19% higher than a year ago.

The latest statistics reveal that 260,403 people were waiting for heart tests and treatment, including invasive heart procedures and heart surgery, at the end of July in England – the 13th consecutive month that numbers have risen.

Of those waiting, 59,204 had been waiting over 18 weeks – nearly one in four (23 per cent) of everyone waiting for a heart surgery or other invasive procedure at the end of July 2021.

The number of people waiting over a year decreased in July to 3,634 from a peak of 5,248 in March 2021 – however, the figure is still 130 times higher than before the pandemic began when just 28 people had been waiting this long.

Even before the pandemic, the number of people awaiting vital heart care had been increasing year-on-year.

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the BHF and Consultant Cardiologist, said:The longer that access to heart care is reduced, the higher the toll from death and disability will be for years to come. This is all the more tragic when effective heart treatments exist.

“The scale of the challenge is significant – we forecast it will take years to address the cardiovascular care backlog without further action.

“The funding increase announced this week is a welcome start, but people with heart conditions need to hear that cardiovascular care will be specifically prioritised. We need a clear recovery plan for England to build sustainable heart disease services bigger, better and fairer for now and the future. This would avoid untold heartbreak for the rising numbers of people diagnosed with heart disease.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here