NHS waiting lists have hit a new high as 7million are in line for care, new data has revealed.

This is up from the 6.8million who were waiting for hospital care in July.

The figures for August are the highest since records began.

The fresh numbers come as medics are struggling to get through the backlog created by the Covid pandemic.

During the initial outbreak of the virus, operations and treatment plans were pushed back for many patients in order to cope with the immediate threat of the virus.

Figures show the number of people enduring long trolley waits – referring to the time spent in A&E before people are found a bed on a hospital ward – has also risen in the last month.

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Those waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England -from a decision to admit them to actually being admitted hit 32,776 people in September.

This is up from 28,756 in August and is the highest number in records going back to August 2010.

However, both the government and the NHS has set a target of eliminating waits of more than a year by 2025.

The data also revealed that 71 per cent of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, the joint-worst performance on record.

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The standard for A&E care, is that 95 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, but this has not been met nationally since 2015.

NHS England said that a total of 387,257 people in England had been waiting more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment at the end of August.

This compares to 377,689 at the end of July – equating to one in 18 people on the waiting list.

At the end of August, 2,646 people had been waiting more than two years to start treatment – with this figure being down from July's 2,885.

Some progress however has been made, as in January, those waiting more than two years had hit a peak of 23,778.

When it comes to ambulance waits, the average response time in September was nine minutes and 19 seconds.

These were for the most urgent incidents such as life-threatening illness or injury.

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This is up from nine minutes and eight seconds in August, though below the record longest average response time for this category of nine minutes and 35 seconds, which was reached in July.

The NHS said that the target response for such an incident is seven minutes.

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