Waiting lists for hospital care have trebled, with more than 24,000 patients waiting longer than six months for inpatient and day-case care in hospitals.
Official figures show there were 24,369 patients waiting longer than six months for elective care at the end of January, up from 7,541 in January 2014. More than 6,000 of those patients were waiting longer than one year.
The dramatic rise is likely to fuel further concern about the mounting difficulties patients face in accessing care.
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