Updated waiting list figures from NHS England for March 2022, analysis from LCP’s NHS Waiting List Tracker

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The number on the waiting list increased from 6.1 million in February 2022 to 6.4 million in March 2022. This is now 50% higher than before the pandemic began (March 2020).

The number waiting a year or more for treatment increased from 299,478 in February 2022 to 306,286.

There are now 62,754 waiting more than 18 months for treatment (an 8% decrease from February 22) and 16,796 waiting at least 2 years (an 28% decrease from February 22).

Orthopaedics continues to have the largest waiting list at 730,930.

Large regional inequalities persist across the waiting list with the number of people waiting 52 weeks or more for orthopaedics 92 times higher in Devon than South Tyneside.

Adjusting for population size shows a 67-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 of people waiting for NHS elective care in poor health for longer continues to increase. Most concerning are the persisting vast disparities in numbers waiting across different CCGs with a 92-fold difference in some instances. It is pleasing to see the number waiting more than 2-years decrease by 28% in the latest figures to 16,796. The true size of the waiting list when including the estimating ‘hidden need’ is likely to be around twice as large. The elective recovery programme must take a proportionate approach to ensure existing health inequalities are not worsened further.”