The NHS has made 'huge progress' in ensuring that those patients waiting longest for treatment are seen as quickly as possible, according to new figures from NHS England.
The number who have waited two years or more in acute hospitals has fallen by 15,000 since a peak of 22,500 in January to 6,700.
As part of NHS England's 'final push' to treat patients waiting the longest, patients are being offered faster treatment in different parts of the country. Over 400 patients have already said they would be prepared to travel, of which around 140 have been booked in to get their surgery at a different hospital.
NHS continues to put additional investment to good use
The NHS set out ambitions to eliminate two-year waits by the end of July except for those patients who choose to wait longer or patients in highly specialised areas that may require a tailored plan.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “It is testament to the sheer hard work, skill, dedication and tenacity of NHS leaders and their staff who have driven these numbers down so quickly.
“This is against the backdrop of a system that continues to run extremely hot with pinch points in A&E departments and in ongoing delays in discharging patients from hospital because of the dearth of social care provision.
“The NHS continues to put additional investment to good use and is making clear progress in tackling the elective care backlog. However, healthcare leaders know, only too well that there is still much more to be done and a very long way to go to get the NHS back on sustainable and resilient footing.”