Half a million people in Yorkshire waiting for hospital treatment - this surgery has the longest waiting times

Half a million people were on the waiting list for treatment in Yorkshire and the North East in August, official figures show.

Consultant Shafiq Rehman told The Yorkshire Post there had been a dramatic increase in cataract referrals in recent months

The regions, which are often combined for statistical purposes, had an average waiting time of 12 weeks.

Though this is below the Government’s pledge of 18 weeks from diagnosis to treatment, 43 per cent of people waited longer, many people significantly so.

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The figures show there were some people who waited as long as two years for treatment, with plastic surgery having the longest waiting times.

Cardiothoracic surgery had the shortest waiting times but considerably fewer patients than other areas of medicine.

Ear, nose and throat and opthalmology had the largest number of patients and some of the longest waiting times.

Consulant opthalmic surgeon at Optegra, Shafiq Rehman, told The Yorkshire Post there had been a dramatic increase in cataract referrals in recent months, as people struggled to cope in lockdown with increasingly poor vision, and said he expected waiting times to get worse.

“It is highly likely that the additional pressure caused by the fallout from Covid-19 will dwarf the usual seasonal pressures for the NHS and sadly the result is likely to be that elective NHS activity - routine out-patient appointments, cataract surgery, elective hip/knee surgeries - will be most heavily affected and I foresee many areas of the UK experiencing long delays to access routine elective medical care in the coming six to twelve months ahead.”

He urged people with medical concerns not to risk making problems worse by delaying seeing a doctor.