MORE than 45,000 people are on the waiting lists at Bradford and Airedale hospitals, according to the latest figures.

There are 36,265 people on the waiting list at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – up 63.9% in a year.

At Airedale NHS Foundation Trust , 9,683 people are on the waiting list- up 15.8% in a year At Bradford, a total of 1,348 people have been waiting more than a year for an appointment and 132 people have been waiting more than two years. Those numbers at Airedale are 486 and 14 people, respectively.

Across the country there have never been more people on the waiting list – more than 5.8 million are currently waiting.

Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Just over one in 10 (10.3%) people in England are on the NHS waiting list.

The NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses, but the Bradford Labour Group claimed plans have not been to recruit, train, and retain the staff needed to solve this crisis.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People & Places, said: “Waiting lists in Bradford are too long and getting longer. That’s not just a statistic – it’s local people who are often living with real pain and risk, longer than they should have to.

“This isn’t just about Covid, which has added to the pressures. Despite the best efforts of staff, targets haven’t been met across the country for several years now under this Tory government. From waiting lists to A&E to getting an appointment with your local GP, for local people our health service is going backwards as seen nationally.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under. These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.

“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “In line with the whole of the NHS, our focus has had to be on responding to Covid-19 during this devastating pandemic and that has meant that waiting lists for routine operations have risen.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to prioritise patients and to deliver treatments for the more urgent life, limb or sight-threatening conditions as well as time-critical cancer treatments.

“We are now within our ‘reset and recovery’ stage and are working with our neighbouring hospital trusts as well as independent sector providers to prioritise and reschedule appointments and operations which have been impacted.

“Our attention is very much on assessing the needs of all patients whose care may have been delayed due to the pandemic. Prioritisation of our waiting lists continues to be undertaken on the basis of clinical need with doctors doing so in accordance with nationally-agreed guidance. If clinically deemed appropriate or if the patient’s condition dictates, patients will be upgraded to a higher priority status.

“This ensures the most in-need patients receive their treatment as a priority. We continue to work with local independent providers to create more capacity for treatment, something we have done throughout the pandemic.

“We understand the impact of delaying any medical care but we want to reassure people that we are continuing to provide the best care and timely support for patients and their families.”

David Crampsey, Executive Medical Director at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to make progress on elective surgery backlog and we want to reassure people that the NHS remains open and addressing the increased waiting times is a key focus for our clinical and operational teams. We apologise to anyone whose treatment has been rescheduled and thank them for their understanding.”