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NHS England waiting lists have fallen for the first time since May 2020 – but the number of people waiting over a year for treatment is still 220 times more than before the pandemic.
A total of 7.19m are waiting for NHS treatment according to new quarterly figures – down from 7.21m.
The peak of 7.21m recorded in October was a rise of 3.3m on 3.95m in May 2020 – and followed 29 months of consecutive growth for the waiting list.
However, 7.19m is still the second highest number there has ever been on the waiting list at the end of a month since records began in 2007.
Meanwhile, the number of people waiting more than two years fell from 1,907 to 1,423, the number waiting 18 months or more dropped from 50,124 to 48,961 and the number waiting more than a year fell from 410,983 to 406,575.