LATEST figures show there are are now 31,705 people on the waiting list at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and 11,473 people on the waiting list at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – a combined increase of 40% in a year.
Across both trusts there are 2,288 people that have been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 66 waiting more than two years.
And across the country there are about 5.86m people waiting for treatment – the highest number ever. The figures come from NHS England’s Consultant-led Referral to Treatment Waiting Times Data.
Cllr Leigh Redman, Leader of the Labour group on Somerset County Council, said: “Our amazing NHS staff support us every day during and following the pandemic, but waiting lists in the two NHS trusts that cover Somerset are too long and getting longer.
“That’s not just a statistic – it’s local people living with real pain, and risk, longer than they should.
“This isn’t just about Covid – key targets haven’t been met across the country for years. From waiting lists to A&E to getting an appointment with your local GP, for local people our health service is going backwards.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under.
“These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.
“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs, which Rishi Sunak has failed to provide despite imposing a punishing tax rise on working people.”