Number of English patients waiting more than 18 weeks rises by 26%

Despite rising demand for healthcare caused by the increasingly elderly population and growing numbers of people with long-term conditions, the NHS treated 16,201 fewer people as inpatients in March 2011 compared to March 2010, the latest Referral To Treatment data disclose.

The British Medical Association said the longer waits and fewer treatments were inevitable: “Given the massive financial pressures on the NHS, it was always likely that hospital activity would decrease and waiting times would increase,” said a spokesperson.