Thousands of patients are going without vital NHS treatment as hospitals are still struggling to get services back to normal, figures for England show.
Nearly 2m patients have been waiting more than the target time of 18 weeks for routine treatment and surgery.
The numbers referred for cancer check-ups and starting treatment are also below the levels seen a year ago.
But services are seeing more people than they were in the spring when the pandemic first hit.
The data released by NHS England shows:
- There are currently 4.2m people on the waiting list for routine treatment, nearly half of whom have waited longer than 18 weeks, which is three times higher than it was a year ago
- Just over 100,000 of the waiting list have waited longer than a year – the highest number for 12 years
- GPs made 169,600 urgent referrals for cancer check-ups in August, down from more than 200,000 the year before
- Just over 20,000 patients started their cancer treatment in August, a drop of a fifth in a year
- The numbers arriving at A&E in September was just below 1.7m, 400,000 lower than September 2020