The NHS is now missing six out of eight of its targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment (Image: Getty Images)
The staggering figure of more than 125,000 people left languishing on waiting lists makes it the worst NHS performance on record. Data also showed just 84.2 percent of A&E patients were seen within four hours last month - compared to the 95 percent target. The NHS is now missing six out of eight of its targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment, NHS England statistics revealed yesterday.
It has missed its flagship cancer objective for more than 1,000 days. Eighty-five per cent of patients should begin treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referral.
But figures for January show the worst performance ever, with just 76.2 percent treated in this time.
Dr Fran Woodard, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "January 2019 marks five years since the 62-day cancer target was first missed. Despite the best efforts of hard working NHS staff, more than 127,000 people have been left waiting too long to start vital treatment throughout that time.
"Behind the numbers are people who tell us how delays cause real anxiety for them and their loved ones at a time when they are already trying to deal with the many worries cancer is throwing their way.
86.7 percent of patients were seen within 18 weeks, against a 92 percent target (Image: Getty Images)
Dr Simon Walsh, of the British Medical Association, said: "It's difficult to imagine the NHS in a much worse state, let alone the stress and appalling toll being taken on the health of patients and doctors."
The Royal College of Surgeons warned of a growing backlog of people awaiting operations.
More than 220,000 have been waiting more than six months, 31 percent up on last year.And 36,857 have been waiting more than nine months, a 39 percent rise, it said.
In January, 86.7 percent of patients were seen within 18 weeks, against a 92 percent target.
More than 220,000 people have been waiting more than six months (Image: Getty Images)
Under NHS plans, key targets could be replaced with new standards.
But John Appleby of the Nuffield Trust said: "It will be hard for the public to have faith that this isn't just lowering the bar while queues continue out of the door of A&E. In short, it is hard to fix the ship's steering in stormy waters."
Last night an NHS spokesman said: "Staff across the country have been working incredibly hard throughout winter to provide the best care. Almost a quarter of a million more people have been treated within four hours in A&E this winter compared to last year.