HUNDREDS of patients died while on NHS waiting lists in Mid Cheshire.

A total of 578 people died while on a waiting list to receive treatment from Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust last year.

The trust is responsible for Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Victoria Infirmary in Northwich and Elmhurst Intermediate Care Centre in Winsford.

Around a third (191) of the 578 patients who passed away had been waiting longer than the NHS’ 18 week treatment target, according to a Freedom of Information disclosure obtained by the Labour Party.

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury said: “I feel sad for the patients who passed away while waiting for treatment that sadly never arrived, as well as their devastated loved ones.

“We don’t know individual circumstances but across the country waiting lists are going in the wrong direction, with the concern many of these deaths could have been prevented if the NHS was properly resourced.”

He added: “I’m certainly not pointing the finger of blame at local NHS leaders, doctors and nurses who do a sterling job in a very challenging environment. This is the result of 13 years of underfunding.

“Rishi Sunak promised to cut NHS waiting lists, but there are 600,000 more patients waiting for NHS care today than when he became Prime Minister.”

Northwich Guardian: The national NHS waiting list has hit a new record highThe national NHS waiting list has hit a new record high (Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Labour obtained responses from 35 of the 138 hospital trusts.

From this, they estimate that around 121,000 people died while waiting for NHS care in England last year, double the number who died on waiting lists in 2017/18 when the figure stood at around 60,000.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals has issued an apology to everyone currently on the waiting list but addded that the analysis by the Labour Party could be “misleading”.

A spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to our patients currently on waiting lists for treatment.

“Our hardworking teams are committed to reducing waiting times whilst prioritising patients in accordance with their clinical need.

“We advise any patients who are concerned about changes in their health to contact their GP or clinician.

“The figures provided in response to a freedom of information request does not demonstrate a link between waits for elective treatment and deaths.

“The data could be interpreted in a number of different ways and therefore this analysis could be misleading given the data does not include the cause of death, or any further details on the person's age and medical conditions.”

New figures from NHS England revealed the national waiting list had hit a record high of 7.7 million people.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to cut the waiting list but this month told the BBC that strikes were threatening this target.

He said: “With industrial action it is very hard to continue to meet these targets.

"We are making very good progress despite industrial action."