MORE people were waiting for treatment at Shropshire Community Health Trust in January than were a year before despite a promise from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, latest figures show.

In January 2023 Mr Sunak made five pledges to the British public – including a promise that "NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly".

However, with figures now available for this January, the Prime Minister has failed to cut waiting lists at Shropshire Community Health Trust, and across England.


NHS England figures show 15,377 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust at the end of January – up from 14,832 in December, and 4,573 in January 2023.

Of those, 55 had been waiting for longer than a year.

The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at Shropshire Community Health Trust was 17 weeks at the end of January – up from nine weeks in January 2023.

In better news for the Prime Minister, January saw the fourth consecutive month-on-month fall across England, although 250,000 more patients were waiting than in January last year. Nationally, 6.32 million patients were waiting for 7.58 million treatments at the end of January.

Mr Sunak admitted to failing to keep this pledge in an interview with TalkTV in February.

However, this week Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the Government’s "commitment to cutting waiting times is unwavering".

She added: "This has been achieved despite disruptive strikes and record winter pressures on our NHS services."

Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting accused the Government of having "broken every pledge" on NHS waits.

The Health Foundation said despite some progress, the NHS has a "mountain to climb" on waiting lists.

Tim Gardner, assistant director for policy at the charity, said there was no "silver bullet", but investment and long-term action would help relieve pressures on the health service.

Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in January – the same as in December.

At Shropshire Community Health Trust, 241 patients were waiting for one of two standard tests, such as Audiology - Audiology Assessments, or Non-obstetric Ultrasound at this time.

Of them, one had been waiting for at least six weeks.

Get in touch

Share your views on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch email, or fill in the form on this section of our website.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said "demand for NHS services across the country remains high".

He said: "It is testament to the hard work of staff and the measures in our elective recovery plan that despite the longest period of industrial action in NHS history in January, with one in five days affected, staff still managed to bring the waiting list down."

He added that staff are using new technologies to bring down the longest waits for patients.