LATEST figures show a record number of patients in Somerset were waiting for routine treatment in June.
NHS Digital figures show 30,446 patients were waiting for elective operations or treatment in the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust area – which includes Musgrove Park Hospital – up from 28,924 at the end of May.
This was also 45% more than a year previously, and the highest figure for the month of June since comparable records began in 2011.
The number of people on waiting lists across England has risen to 5.45 million – the highest total for any month since records began in August 2007.
Recent modelling from the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned the NHS waiting list could rise to 14 million by autumn next year.
NHS rules state that patients referred for non-urgent consultant-led elective care should start treatment within 18 weeks.
In signs of progress, the figures show the number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for care has dropped by almost 25,000.
The Health Foundation said the latest data “highlights the difficult juggling act the NHS faces in meeting emergency pressures, restoring services and addressing the backlog of care while Covid-19 cases still remain high”.