Commenting on NHS England’s monthly performance data, Ruth Thorlby, Assistant Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said:

‘The pressures on A&E are subsiding slightly but there is a backlog in elective care. Figures released today show more patients are waiting longer to begin planned treatment.

‘In March 2018, for the first time in almost a decade, nearly half a million people waited longer than 18 weeks for planned care.  

‘Waiting times in A&E departments have started to recover from a long and very difficult winter, but this is still the worst start to a financial year since records began and performance against the four hour waiting time standard remains well below target.

‘Jeremy Hunt recently called for delivering waiting time targets for planned and emergency care to be an essential part of the government’s “promise to the British public”. Reversing the sustained decline in waiting times will require a longer-term investment in the NHS and social care system to increase productivity and better meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.’

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