• Number of admitted patients who waited more than a year for treatment more than doubles
  • Highest total so far this year since 2008
  • Ten trusts responsible for half the year on year increase
  • Explore the data

The number of patients waiting more than a year to be treated on an elective pathway has more than doubled year on year, the latest NHS data shows.

Patients admitted on a pathway governed by the 18 week referral to treatment time standard increased from 1,619 in the first four months of 2016-17 to 4,017 in the same period this year.


Imperial saw a sharp increase in patients waiting more than 52 weeks for elective treatment

The figure does not include patients who were treated after more than a year’s wait, who were not admitted or NHS patients treated by the independent sector.

The performance is the worst for this measure since 2008.

Almost half the difference year on year came from increases at 10 trusts, which saw sharp increases in the number of patients waiting more than 52 weeks (see table).

The other half is accounted for by the difference in trusts that did not report their waiting times figures last year but have returned to reporting this year.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has treated 585 admitted patients who waited more than a year so far in 2017-18. Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust has treated 438.

Of the three main waiting times performance measures for acute trusts, elective care is considered less important than meeting emergency care or cancer targets.

HSJ has reported on a number of recent scandals in the acute sector, in which patients, including children, have come to harm as a result of poor waiting list management for elective procedures.

A spokeswoman for NHS Improvement said: “We know that patients are concerned about waiting times and we are working hard to support trusts and foundation trusts to reduce them. Performance against the 92 percent RTT target and the increase in the number of patients being treated after waiting for 52 weeks shows the sustained pressures facing the NHS, with ever increasing emergency demand as well as greater numbers of people being referred for elective services.

“We are working with trusts to help them find additional capacity and to work more efficiently so that patients receive the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

“Over the coming year, we would expect to see an increase in the number of patients treated after 52 weeks as trusts do more to treat the patients that have been waiting the longest.”

Trusts with largest year on year increase in year-plus waiters (first four months of the financial year)

ProviderYear-plus waiters in 2017-18Year-plus waiters in 2016-17Year on year difference
Imperial College Healthcare Trust 531 122 409
Royal Free London FT 270 118 152
University Hospitals Bristol FT 123 159 123
Worecestershire Acute Hospitals Trust 85 0 85
East Kent Hospitals University FT 114 36 78
King’s College Hospital FT 298 221 77
Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT 59 0 59
Wye Valley Trust 81 24 57
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals FT 66 26 40
Taunton and Somerset FT 51 12 39

Number of patients who were admitted for treatment after a wait of more than 52 weeks (first four months of the financial year)

  • 2017-18: 4,017
  • 2016-17: 1,619
  • 2015-16: 770
  • 2014-15: 1,377
  • 2013-14: 1,105
  • 2012-13: 2,188
  • 2011-12: 3,358
  • 2010-11: 2,212
  • 2009-10: 2,768
  • 2008-09: 15,096