The number of people on a hospital waiting list in England has hit six million for the first time.

And about one in 20 of those has been waiting – for routine care such as knee and hip surgery – for more than a year.

The figures are for the end of November – before the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus hit the country.

Also, in December, nearly 27% of patients arriving at an emergency department waited more than four hours to be seen – another record high.

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