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Medics warn NHS ‘winter crisis’ now year-round after record July delays

THE NHS is facing a ‘winter crisis’ all year round, medics have warned, after demand and delays reached an all-time high last month.

Nearly 2.3million people visited A&E departments in July — with more than one in eight sitting there for more than four hours.

Meanwhile, the waiting list for routine operations hit an all-time high of 4.4million, with a record 600,000 patients on it longer than the government’s 18-week target.

The figures were released days after Boris Johnson announced an extra £1.8billion for hospital upgrades and promised to cut taxes on doctors’ overtime shifts.

But experts say the health service is short of 100,000 staff in the face of unprecedented demand.

‘The winter crisis in A&E has merged straight into a summer crisis, with no sign of the usual summer recovery,’ said Richard Murray, chief executive of think tank The King’s Fund.

He said addressing staff shortages ‘will require a raft of measures and must be a priority for the government’.

A&E attendances were up 160,000 on June and 266,000 higher than during the last winter flu crisis in January 2018.

The four-hour target time was missed for more than 275,000 patients and 57,000 waited on trolleys more than four hours before even being admitted.