Responding to NHS England's 'final push' to treat patients waiting the longest, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
“This shows the huge progress the NHS has made in ensuring that those patients waiting longest for treatment are seen as quickly as possible.
“It is testament to the sheer hard work, skill, dedication and tenacity of NHS leaders and their staff who have driven these numbers down so quickly.
“This is against the backdrop of a system that continues to run extremely hot with pinch points in A&E departments and in ongoing delays in discharging patients from hospital because of the dearth of social care provision.
“The NHS continues to put additional investment to good use and is making clear progress in tackling the elective care backlog. However, healthcare leaders know, only too well that there is still much more to be done and a very long way to go to get the NHS back on sustainable and resilient footing.”