Cancer waiting lists worst ever as hospitals fail to reduce backlogs 12 months into 3 year NHS recovery plan

HOSPITALS are already failing to reduce their backlogs a year into a three-year recovery plan, MPs have warned.

Cancer waiting times are their worst ever and seven million patients are on the list for surgery, the Public Accounts Committee said.

GettyCancer waiting times are their worst ever and seven million UK patients are on the list for surgery[/caption]

It found NHS chiefs had been “unrealistic” in their schedule for getting the service back to pre-pandemic levels.

PAC chair Dame Meg Hillier said the NHS was in “full-blown crisis” despite a “significant cash injection” of nearly £14billion up to March 2025.

She added that the situation was “simply shameful, and totally unacceptable in a nation as wealthy as ours”.

The report found waits for cancer patients increased in the first five months of the programme.

Fewer than 66 per cent were treated within 62 days of their GP referral.

The target is 85 per cent.

The NHS also failed to meet its target of ending two-year waits by July 2022, with 2,600 patients still facing delays longer than that last August.

Aiming to see 129 per cent more people on the elective care waiting list by 2024/25 is also “unachievable”, PAC said.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “The NHS is in the biggest crisis in its history, and things are still not improving.”

NHS Providers chief exec Sir Julian Hartley blamed “a tough winter, the impact of industrial action and vast workforce shortages” for impacting the recovery.

The Health Department said the NHS made “strong progress” in tackling Covid backlogs, has “virtually eliminated” two-year waits and is “working to reduce the 62-day cancer backlog”.