MORE than 52,000 people are now on waiting lists for treatment at York and Scarbrough Hospitals Trust, NHS figures show.

More than 4,000 of them have been waiting for longer than a year.

The figures come as the latest wave of doctors’ strikes sees yet more operations and appointments postponed.

A spokesperson for York Hospital said that clinical teams were constantly reviewing waiting lists to ensure that ‘patients with the greatest need’ were treated first.

But they admitted that this meant that some patients whose need was assessed as being less urgent were actually waiting longer.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience this causes for them,” the spokesperson said.

York Press: York HospitalYork Hospital (Image: Supplied)

Luke Charters, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for York Outer, said the figures showed that, for millions of patients, the NHS was ‘no longer there for them when they need it’.

NHS waiting lists nationally had increased every month since PM Rishi Sunak had pledged to cut them, Mr Charters said.

Criticizing Mr Sunak for refusing to meet with doctors to end the latest round of strikes, Mr Charters claimed the PM’s failure to act was leaving patients ’waiting for months on end in agony and pain’.

He pledged that if Labour won power at the next general election, it would ‘train thousands more staff and reform the health service, so it is there for us when we need it once again’.

York Press: Luke ChartersLuke Charters (Image: Supplied)

But Julian Sturdy, the sitting Conservative MP for York Outer, said the long waiting lists were the result of the NHS becoming ‘solely focussed on treating Covid-19’ during the pandemic’.

As a result, he said, there were ‘almost two years of cases left untreated, creating a bottleneck in the system’.

Mr Sturdy insisted the Prime Minister was ‘acutely aware’ of the situation, and had identified it as a priority.

“The Government is spending over £8 billion over three years, from 2022 to 2025, to tackle the elective backlog,” he said.

“In addition, the Government has committed to a £5.9 billion investment in NHS capital over three years, to provide new beds, equipment and technology.

"This includes £2.3 billion to increase diagnostic activity and roll out up to 160 Community Diagnostic Centres, £2.1 billion to modernise digital technology on the frontline, as well as £1.5 billion towards Elective Recovery by expanding capacity.”

York Press: Julian SturdyJulian Sturdy (Image: Supplied)

But he conceded that the latest waiting list figures showed that investment was not reaching areas where it was most needed.

“This is why I have met with York Hospital as well as GPs in York to discuss how primary care can relieve pressure on our hospital,” he said. “I will bring this plan to ministers and hope York can show the way nationally on better practice."

York Hospital admits the pandemic, coupled with recent industrial action, has pushed up waiting times.

“The pressures felt in our hospitals are part of a broader challenge across the NHS,” the hospital spokesperson said.

“The Trust has a detailed recovery plan and supporting workstreams in place to help us achieve national targets.”

There was also a ‘robust winter plan’ in place to ensure the hospital would have extra capacity over winter, the spokesperson added.