NHS England data shows urgent cancer referrals dropped by a fifth last month year on year
The number of people waiting longer than 18 weeks for routine hospital treatment in England is at the highest level ever, records show.
More than 1.85 million people were waiting for hospital treatment in June, compared to the 1.79 million recorded in August 2007.
NHS England data shows that urgent cancer referrals dropped by a fifth on the same month last year, increasing to 43% for breast cancer.
A total of 153,134 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in June, down from 194,047 in June last year (down 21%) and urgent breast cancer referrals decreased from 14,885 to 8,495.
A spokesperson for Macmillan described these figures, which point to a significant backlog of undiagnosed cancer, as "worryingly low".
The monthly data published this week showed the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment rose to 50,536, up from 1,089 in June last year, and the highest number for any calendar month since February 2009.
Just 52% of people were seen within 18 weeks, June numbers show, when the target was 92%.
The number of patients admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 67% compared with a year ago.
A total of 94,354 patients were admitted during the month, down from 289,203 for the same time last year.
The findings come after the British Medical Association (BMA) released results of its Covid-19 tracker last month which revealed that 15% of doctors were not at all confident of their ability to manage patient demand if there is a second peak of the virus.
New research with The Exeter
Leading With Distinction
Adds 120 clients