Waiting lists to see specialist at record high
The number of patients who are waiting to see a specialist has reached a new high with 514,585 people now in hospital queues across the country.
The damning figures reveal the failure to tackle the crisis, despite promises by the Government to try to bring it under control.
Some 82,597 people are waiting at least a year and a half to see a specialist.
The grim figures for August were released yesterday by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) and follow another month of record overcrowding.
The numbers waiting for surgery fell.
But there are still 74,189 patients who need an operation.
The numbers dropped from 76,156 in July.
However, there was a deterioration in the numbers waiting the longest.
Some 6,146 were on a list for more than 18 months in August.
This compares to 5,836 in July.
Summer is usually a chance for hospitals to increase their rate of surgery because there is less pressure on beds.
But this summer has been particularly bad for overcrowding.
The number of children waiting for surgery rose slightly to 4,149 in August.
Some 514 were in the queue for more than 18 months.
There is also concern about the ongoing delays for children who need scoliosis surgery.