The NHS waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England has hit another record high, official data has revealed as hospital bosses warned the Covid backlog will not be cleared for another five years.
A total of 5.7million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August 2021, according to figures from NHS England.
This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.
The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at 292,138 in August 2021, down slightly from 293,102 in the previous month, but more than double the number waiting a year earlier, in August 2020, which was 111,026.
Nearly 370,000 patients in England had been waiting more than six weeks for a key diagnostic test in August.
A total of 369,086 patients were waiting for one of 15 standard tests, including an MRI scan,