LCP comments on
latest NHS waiting list figures

Media centre

The number on the waiting list increased from 5.4 million in June 2021 to 5.6 million in July 2021.  

  • This is now 32% higher than before the pandemic began (March 2020).  
  • The number waiting a year or more for treatment has decreased for the fourth month in a row from 304,803 to 293,102. 
  • There are now 102,304 waiting more than 18 months for treatment (a 19% increase from June 21) and 7,980 waiting at least 2 years (a 39% increase from June 21).  
  • Orthopaedics continues to have the largest waiting list at 681,190. 
  • Large regional inequalities persist across the waiting list with the number of people waiting 52 weeks or more for orthopaedics now 70 times higher in Norfolk and Waveney than North East Lincolnshire. 
  • Adjusting for population size shows a 50-fold difference in the orthopaedics waiting lists across best and worst performing CCGs.  

Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Head of Health Analytics, commented: “The total number on NHS waiting lists has soared to a record high of 5.6 million, showing a spiralling issue for NHS services, staff and patients. The Health Secretary also recently warned that the total number could rise as high as 13 million. He must ensure additional resources are targeted at the areas with most unmet need to ensure inequalities do not worsen further as a legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The problem is particularly acute for those people waiting more 18 months and two years which have increased by 19% and 39% respectively from June 21, and those on orthopaedic lists which continues to have the largest waiting list at over 680,000. There are also persistent regional inequalities which is a cause for concern. However, we have seen some improvement in the waiting times of those waiting more than a year for treatment, painting a mixed picture overall. The additional funds to tackle the backlog announced earlier this week are welcome but must be distributed proportionate to unmet need to prevent worsening inequalities as a legacy of Covid-19.” 

NHS waiting list tracker

NHS waiting list tracker

Visualised by LCP

Explore our interactive tracker to see how waiting lists for NHS services vary across England.

Start here