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Thousands of Greater Manchester patients waiting more than a year to start hospital treatment, data shows

The NHS says the number of people facing the longest waits for care are coming down and there were record numbers of diagnostic tests in March.

Thousands of people in Greater Manchester are still facing long waits to begin hospital treatment, the latest NHS figures show.

Data shows how many patients across the city-region were waiting to begin care in March 2022, how many started treatment in the target time of 18 weeks or less and how many had been on the list for more than a year.

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The NHS said it was currently embarking on what it called “the most ambitious catch up plan in NHS history” following the Covid-19 pandemic and insisted the numbers were moving in the right direction.

ManchesterWorld teamed up with our sister title NationalWorld to sift through the data for the city-region.

What does the data show for Greater Manchester?

The data released by NHS England and NHS Improvement shows how many people were on waiting lists for treatment at the end of March 2022 and how long they had been in the queue to begin their care.

The biggest hospital trust in the city-region is the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

At the end of March 158,785 patients were waiting to start their treatment.

Of those, 49.5% had been waiting less than 18 weeks to begin their care, compared to the target hospitals are set of 92%.

Some 13,704 patients had been waiting more than a year as of the end of March 2022.

At Bolton NHS Foundation Trust there were 32,659 people on the waiting list, with 65.4% having been waiting less than 18 weeks and 1,588 on the list for more than a year.

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust had 19,039 people waiting to start treatment. Of those 873 had been waiting more than 12 months and 61% had been on the list for a shorter period than the 18-week target.

And Stockport NHS Foundation Trust had 39,676 people on the list, with 53% waiting less than 18 weeks and 3,421 into their second year of waiting to get their treatment under way.

What has the NHS said about the latest data?

The NHS said it is continuing to bring down the number of people facing the longest waits for care as it continues to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The health service said that across England as a whole record numbers of diagnostic tests were done in March.

It was also the highest month on record for cancer referrals, with 253,796 people checked in March, and the second-highest number for people starting treatment for cancer, at 28,378.

While the total waiting list now stands at 6.36 million, increasing numbers of people are coming forward following the pandemic with 1.78 million people referred for treatment in March, the NHS said.

And fewer patients are now facing the longest waits to get care, with the number of people waiting more than two years for elective treatment dropping by almost 6,500 between February and March and those waiting more than 78 weeks – a year and a half -  dropping by 5,700 over the same period.

However, the health service continues to face pressures, with April having more life-threatening ambulance call-outs (78,582) and 999 calls answered (860,414) than the same month in all previous years and A&Es seeing the second-busiest April on record.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: “Today’s figures show our hardworking teams across the NHS are making good progress in tackling the backlogs that have built up with record numbers of diagnostic tests and cancer checks taking place in March, as part of the most ambitious catch up plan in NHS history.

“We always knew the waiting list would initially continue to grow as more people come forward for care who may have held off during the pandemic, but today’s data show the number of people waiting more than two years has fallen for the second month in a row, and the number waiting more than 18 months has gone down for the first time.

“There is no doubt the NHS still faces pressures, and the latest figures are another reminder of the crucial importance of community and social care, in helping people in hospital leave when they are fit to do so, not just because it is better for them but because it helps free up precious NHS bed space.”

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has been contacted for comment.