NHS patients are being left longer without treatment, according to new data, as waiting lists for treatment growing by 1.5 million people over the past seven years.
Research by the Labour Party published on Wednesday revealed that the number of people in England stuck on NHS waiting lists had spiked by almost two-thirds (62%) since 2011.
Meanwhile, the number of patients forced to wait six months or longer for treatment rose by almost 70,000 in a year, the report found.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth called the increases “staggering”.
“Let’s be clear, this means patients waiting longer and longer in pain, distress and anxiety,” he said.
Researchers discovered that the number of people waiting for certain treatments had increased by more than 100,000 since 2011.
While the waiting list for lung treatments spiked by 128%, lists for those suffering from joint disorders and cardiovascular disease jumped by 109% and 68% respectively.
In August last year, the number of NHS patients stuck on waiting lists breached the four million mark for the first time in ten years.
Ashworth said that health ministers must use the NHS long term plan to ensure that waiting lists are reduced.
“It’s not acceptable for ministers to allocate budgets but not put the needs of patients first,” he said.
While the Prime Minister had been set to reveal the plan on December 3, the strategy has still yet to be announced.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Every single month over a million patients start NHS treatment and nearly 15,000 fewer people are waiting over a year for non-urgent operations compared to eight years ago.
“We have given the NHS £2 billion this year to improve performance, redevelop A&Es and help patients get home quicker.
“We are going further, investing an extra £20.5 billion a year to safeguard our health service through the NHS Long Term Plan.”