13 January 2022
The number on the waiting list increased from 5.97 million in October 2021 to 5.99 million in November 2021.
This is now 42% higher than before the pandemic began (March 2020).
The number waiting a year or more for treatment decreased from 312,665 to 306,996
There are now 87,386 waiting more than 18 months for treatment (a 18% decrease from October 21) and 18,585 waiting at least 2 years (a 15% increase from October 21).
Orthopaedics continues to have the largest waiting list at 700,547.
Large regional inequalities persist across the waiting list with the number of people waiting 52 weeks or more for orthopaedics now 81 times higher in Norfolk and Waveney than North East Lincolnshire.
Adjusting for population size shows a 76-fold difference in the orthopaedics waiting list across best and worst performing CCGs.
Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Head of Health Analytics at LCP, commented: “The number waiting for care from the NHS continues to increase. Most concerning are the persisting vast disparities in numbers waiting across different CCGs with more than a 70-fold difference in some instances. The number waiting more than 2-years increased by 15% in the latest figures to more than 18,000. These numbers are largely before the Omicron Covid-19 wave was felt across England so we would expect further worsening of these numbers in future updates. The true size of the waiting list when including the ‘hidden need’ is likely to be double. The upcoming elective recovery plan must harness data-driven approaches to ensure that additional resources are targeted in a proportionate manner according to the level of unmet need across communities including both known and hidden unmet needs.”