Patients waiting for planned operations are paying the price for seeing the NHS through one of the worst winters in recent memory, warns the RCN, as operation waiting lists hit half a million.
It follows the decision in January to delay tens of thousands of operations as the health and social care system struggled to cope with the pressures of a colder than average winter.
According to the latest figures, in April this year 500,068 people had been waiting more than 18 weeks for planned operations, an increase of more than 30% on the same time last year.
This is the highest figure since August 2008 when the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks stood at 520,564.
Read the article in full on the RCN website