One in seven people who need hospital treatment have already spent more than a year on the waiting list.

At the end of February, there were 8,767 people who had already waited more than a year to see a consultant at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust following a GP referral, figures show. The trust runs hospitals, including Queen's Hospital in Burton and the Royal Derby in the city.

That was 14.4 per cent of the 60,992 people on the waiting list. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic means waits for treatment continue to soar.

The number waiting more than a year at the trust has jumped 32.3 per cent in a month, from 6,629 people waiting that long at the end of January. In February 2020 - before the first lockdown began - no-one had been waiting that long.

Across England, the number waiting more than a year for hospital treatment has rocketed to 387,885 at the end of February - or one in 12 people on the waiting list. Treating covid patients has meant that many routine operations have had to be delayed.

Numbers have increased by more than a quarter in a month, from 304,044 in January.

Dr David Wrigley, British Medical Association council deputy chairman, said: "Today's statistics are a stark reminder that, despite falling Covid-19 infection rates and the progress of the vaccination campaign, the health service remains in an incredibly precarious state.

"With the waiting list for treatment reaching another record-high, almost 388,000 people have waited for longer than a year for routine operations in England – a staggering 240-fold increase from 12 months ago.

"Behind each of these shocking figures are people – people facing months of pain and anguish as they wait for vital treatment.

"Doctors want so desperately to provide care to patients, and it distresses them to see so many people not getting the care they need.

"Meanwhile, staff are exhausted after spending a year battling the pandemic on the front line, and are now looking with severe trepidation at the largest backlog in care ever, so it is vital that their own health and wellbeing are protected – allowing them time to rest and recover."

He said now is a critical time for the health service, and as restrictions begin to ease, everyone needs to do what they can to prevent a new surge in infections.

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Around two in five of all patients who have received hospital treatment for covid were admitted in the first two months of the year, with NHS staff treating almost 140,000 covid patients nationally in January and February.

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for the NHS in England, said treating 400,000 patients with Covid-19 over the course of the last year has inevitably had an impact on the NHS, but added that it was a testament to the hard work and dedication of staff that they managed to deliver almost two million ops and procedures in the face of the winter wave.

He said: "The NHS recently announced a £1 billion elective recovery fund which will be used to accelerate the restoration of services and treat as many people as possible, so we continue to urge anyone who needs the NHS to come forward so we can help you."

At the Burton and Derby trust, emergency surgery and cancer treatments have continued, but they are ailments that can have a significant impact on physical and mental wellbeing over time, which hospital leadership recognises.

Usually, there is not a single patient on the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust’s 52-week waiting list. This had increased during the early days of the pandemic, 13 months ago, to 45 – an unusually large number for the trust at the time.

Gavin Boyle, the chief executive at the Derby and Burton Trust, said the trust had been able to maintain a large part of its emergency and urgent service during the pandemic, however it had done relatively little routine activity such as planned operations.

This meant it has a backlog of patients waiting for routine. He said before the pandemic, no-one at the trust waited longer than 52 weeks to have a routine procedure and for most considerably less than this.

He said: "I have been involved recently in a number of conversations with our clinical leaders about our plan to tackle this backlog."

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