Thousands on waiting list for routine hospital treatments in Meridian region

According to NHS England, there are over five million people on England's waiting list for routine hospital treatment - the highest number since records began. Credit: PA

There are over five million people on England's waiting list for routine hospital treatment - the highest number since records began.

A total of 5.12 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of April 2021, according to figures from NHS England.

The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at 385,490 in April 2021 – down from 436,127 in the previous month, but around 35 times the number waiting a year earlier in April 2020, which was 11,042.

The total number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England in April 2021 was 223,780 – more than five times the number a year earlier (41,121), although this reflects lower-than-usual figures for April 2020, which were affected by the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The equivalent figure for March 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 280,209.

This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.


The total number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England in April 2021 was 223,780 Credit: ITV News Meridian

ITV News Meridian met up with Chrissy Smith from Seaford. She's lived with osteoarthritis for almost thirty years. 

She waited 12 months to have one knee replaced in March and she's been warned there's such a backlog of patients it could be another six months before she gets an operation on her other knee. 

The constant pain is now impacting her quality of life.

Watch: report ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

In the Thames Valley, thousands of people are also now having to wait more than a year to start their treatment. Below are figures of some NHS Trust's in the region where patients have been waiting more than 52 weeks since the end of April 2021.


A total of 2.08 million attendances were recorded in May 2021, up from 1.26 million in May 2020. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A&E attendances at hospitals in England last month were 65% higher than a year ago, NHS England said – although again this is a reflection of lower-than-usual numbers for May 2020, which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 2.08 million attendances were recorded in May 2021, up from 1.26 million in May 2020.

The equivalent figure for May 2019, a non-pandemic year, was 2.17 million.



NHS England said the data showed that operations and other routine care were “ahead of ambitions”, while mental health services were back at pre-pandemic levels.

Operations and other elective activity had climbed to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, well ahead of the 75% threshold in official guidance, it added.

Its national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “Despite the extensive disruption to care caused by the pandemic, it’s encouraging that today’s figures show routine operations, cancer and mental health care have now all rebounded sharply."