Record number of people waiting for NHS treatment in England
Record number of people waiting for NHS treatment in England

Record numbers of people were waiting for NHS treatment in England in November, while new figures reveal that A&E visits were 50% higher in December than during the April peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The numbers come as a slew of figures were released by NHS England and the Office for National Statistics.

Here are the main figures you need to know:

Hospital treatment

A total of 4.46 million people were waiting to start hospital treatment in England at the end of November 2020, the highest number since records began.

This compares to 4.42 million in November 2019 and 4.45 million in October that year – the previous highest number in the data which goes back to August 2007.

The NHS England figures also show that the number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment in England stood at 192,169 in November 2020 – the highest number for any calendar month since May 2008.

More from Covid-19

A&E admissions in England

Half a million more people sought help in England’s A&Es in December compared with the first peak of the pandemic in April.

But A&E attendances at hospitals in England continue to be below levels of a year ago, according to NHS England.

A total of 1.5 million attendances were recorded in December 2020, down 32% from 2.2 million in December 2019.

NHS England said the fall is “likely to be a result of the COVID-19 response” – suggesting that people are still staying away from A&E because of the pandemic.

Vaccines

NHS data shows that up to 10 January the most vaccines had been delivered to the Midlands, where 447,329 doses were given.

The areas to receive the lowest amounts were London, with 237,524 doses, and the East of England with 236,023.

Critical care beds

Around one in five major hospital trusts in England had no spare adult critical care beds on 10 January, NHS England figures show.

Some 27 out of 140 acute trusts reported 100% occupancy of all “open” beds on 10 January – the latest date for which statistics are available.

Cancer referrals

NHS England figures also show that a total of 205,182 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in November 2020, up from 201,498 in November 2019 – a rise of 2%.

This compares with a year-on-year rise of 2% in September and falls of 8% in October, 15% in August and 19% in July.

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