Cardiac waiting lists: An outlier or some progress? Part V

By Dr Jonathan Shurlock 
Edited by Dr. Ahmed El-Medany

Each of our previous reports have described the continued growth of cardiac waiting lists, including when we last looked in October 2023. NHS England have published the figures for the end of December 2023 showing a fall in the number of people on waiting lists to 402,028 as of the end of November (down 4,667 from the end of October). This is the first occurrence of this since we started following and reporting these figures.

According to Louis Morris, lead journalist at National Health Executive, this is related to a record-breaking month in terms of treatments delivered, with 1.63 million treatments across November. With ongoing monitoring in coming months, we hope to see this as a continued trend rather than an anomaly.

Unfortunately, another metric we have been following, category 2 ambulance response times, has continued to deteriorate from an average of 39 minutes in November up to 46 minutes in December. Nowhere close to the controversially rehashed target from NHS England and the government of an average of 30 minutes throughout 2023/24.

With an ongoing workforce crisis, industrial action, and amid a winter period for the NHS, a sustained improvement in waiting lists seems unlikely. We will continue to report as NHS England data becomes available.