MORE than 120,000 Brits died on NHS waiting lists last year, shocking figures reveal.
Fatalities while waiting for treatment were double the figure of around 60,000 for 2017 to 2018.
The number was also higher than in 2021, during the Covid pandemic, when around 117,000 died while waiting on the list.
Last week’s consultants’ walkout saw the total number of appointments cancelled since industrial action began last year increase to nearly 1million.
Wes Streeting, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “Record numbers of people are spending their final months in pain and agony, waiting for treatment that never arrives.
Read more on the NHS
“The basic promise of the NHS — that it will be there for us when we need it — has been broken.”
Some 7.57million Brits were waiting to start treatment at the end of June, a record high.
The figures show 383,083 people had been waiting more than a year to start routine hospital treatment at the end of June, down slightly from 385,022 at the end of May.
Some 7,177 patients were waiting more than 18 months, down from 11,446 at the end of May.
Most read in Health
Efforts to tackle the backlog have been hampered by more than eight months of NHS staff strike action, which saw 45,000 appointments and procedures postponed last week.
More than 3,500 people died waiting for treatment last year at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust alone.
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust saw nearly 3,000 people die while on waiting lists.
The NHS constitution states that patients should not wait more than 18 weeks for treatment, but two in five patients today wait longer than that to receive healthcare.
The FOI revealed that 40,000 people died last year after waiting for more than 18 weeks for NHS care.
An NHS spokesperson said: “This analysis, based on figures from just a quarter of hospital trusts, does not demonstrate a link between waits for elective treatment and deaths.
“It would be misleading to suggest it does given the data does not include the cause of death, or any further details on the person’s age and medical conditions.”
Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said: “The waiting list has grown by more than three quarters since 2018.
“Trust leaders are deeply concerned that far too many patients are having to wait too long for treatment.
“Trusts’ priority is to cut backlogs, and they have made real progress in reducing the longest waits.
Read More on The Sun
“They have also boosted their diagnostic, elective and cancer care activity with the introduction of testing and surgical hubs, prioritising clinical need and managing wait lists to reduce health inequalities.
“However, historic underfunding of the health service followed by a pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, workforce shortages and now industrial action have piled enormous pressure on the NHS, making it harder to bear down on backlogs in the way everyone wants to see.”