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Record high of 4m wait for NHS ops

THE number of patients waiting for routine surgery topped four million in June — the highest level since records began a decade ago.

NHS England figures also reveal that a target to carry out 92 per cent of such operations within 18 weeks has not been met since early 2016.

Health bosses blamed increased demand and a rise in the number of procedures — but critics pointed to a lack of funding.

A&E waiting time targets have not been met for two years. Some 95 per cent of patients are meant to be seen within four hours. In June, only 90.3 per cent were. Two out of eight cancer targets were also not met, including ensuring 85 per cent of patients received their first treatment within 62 days of a referral from a GP.

Dr Mark Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the ‘shocking’ figures were a ‘damning indictment of the crisis in the NHS’. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said NHS patients could not ‘afford another year of Theresa May’.

Danny Mortimer, who represents the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers, said the current system was ‘unsustainable’ and politicians should be ‘more willing to fund health and social care’.

But a health department spokesman said: ‘Patients continue to receive world-leading care, with nine out of 10 patients waiting less than 18 weeks and being treated in A&E within four hours.’