Nearly 1 in 12 people on NHS waiting lists have been stuck waiting over a year: The King’s Fund responds to latest NHS hospital performance stats

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Commenting on the latest NHS hospital performance statistics, David Maguire, Senior Analyst at The King’s Fund, said:

'Today’s figures paint a bleak picture of the challenges facing the English health service in the wake of Covid-19. As NHS staff have battled the pandemic, waiting times for routine care have increased. Nearly one in 12 people on NHS waiting lists have now been waiting more than a year for care. Even if the NHS meets its challenging targets to increase activity in hospitals, waiting times for care will continue to rise for many months to come. 

‘Long waiting times don’t just affect patients in need of hospital or cancer care. There are now growing concerns about access to community services that help to keep people healthy, and mental health services, especially those for children and young people.

‘Getting the full range of NHS services back on track will take many years. The government needs to be honest with the public and start planning for a long-term NHS recovery. A good place to start would be with a fully funded workforce strategy to address the persistent staff shortages that have dogged the service for years.’

Notes to editors

For more information about our response to the statistics, please contact The King's Fund media team on 07584 146035 or

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.

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