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UK Covid live: almost 4.5m people waiting for hospital treatments in England after virus backlog

Latest updates: government’s chief scientific adviser says UK’s daily death figures likely to stay at high levels ‘for some weeks’

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Commenting on today’s NHS England hospital waiting list figures (see 10.12am), Prof Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

Today’s figures show the calamitous impact of Covid-19 on wait times for operations.

In November, a record number of patients were waiting for hospital treatment. For thousands of people in this country a corrective operation is the best way to relieve debilitating pain and get them back up on their feet, back to work and enjoying life again …

The latest data from NHS England (see 10.12am) this morning indicates that non-Covid services have not been impacted to the same extent as they were in the first wave.

Cancer treatments in November reached or were approaching pre-Covid levels across most categories. As an example, 205,182 people got their first cancer consultation within two weeks of an urgent referral from their GP in November. This is in stark contrast to April and May of this year where just 79,573 and 106,535 people received treatment respectively by that same metric.

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