Surgeons are warning of a dire lack of access to operating rooms, while millions wait for hospital care in England.

An astonishing 6.39 million patients are in line for routine hospital treatment, figures show.

A census of more than 6,300 surgeons across the country – a quarter of UK surgeons – found that 56% believe access to operating theatres is a major challenge.

The report by the Royal College of Surgeons of England warns that there is “urgent need to increase theatre capacity”.

It also identified low staff levels, as well as clashes in emergency and routine surgery assignments, as barriers.

Tim Mitchell, RCS England president, called the situation “deeply concerning”. He said: “Access to operating theatres and staff wellbeing certainly play a major part. If teams cannot get into theatres, patients will continue to endure unacceptably long waits for surgery.”

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