6m people on hospital waiting lists
The number of people on hospital waiting lists in England has hit record worst levels, with figures reaching 6 million for the first time.
The NHS data, which was released in November, shows that around one in 20 people have been waiting more than a year.
A&E waiting times also reached record worst levels in December.
Figures show that just over 73% of those who arrived at an emergency department were seen within the first four hours.
Several hospital trusts have since declared critical incidents amid low staffing levels, so it is likely these figures will have worsened.
Nearly 4% of hospital staff in England were off for Covid-19 related reasons each day during the week ending 2 January.
This is equivalent to roughly 36,000 members of staff.
The figure demonstrates an increase of 41% from the previous week.
Military personnel have been sent to support a number of hospital and ambulance staff as Covid-19 continues to put services under pressure.
Speaking to the BBC, Patricia Marquis, of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Outside of healthcare, staffing shortages are closing shops and cancelling trains but nurses can’t stop helping their patients.
“Instead, they find themselves spread thinner and thinner, but they can’t keep spinning plates indefinitely either.”
She added that it was clear the NHS was “struggling to treat patients safely”.
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