More forced to wait for treatment
The number of patients forced to wait more than 18 weeks for NHS treatment has risen slightly, according to new figures.
Data for England shows 247,423 people in July had not been treated within this time-frame.
This is up on last year when the number for the same month stood at 243,205.
While the total number of people experiencing longer waits has been rising across the NHS since the coalition Government came into power, average waiting times have shown small signs of improvement.
This year's outpatient figure stands at 3.9 weeks, compared with 4.3 weeks last year.
For those admitted for care, the results also appeared better - falling from 8.3 weeks to 8.2 weeks, according to the statistics released by the Department of Health.
The majority of people - 90.6% of admitted patients and 97.4% of outpatients - started treatment in 18 weeks or less, meaning the Government met its target for 90% of patients to be seen within this period.
However the figures were down on last year which saw 93.3% of inpatients receiving care within the designated time and 98.1% of outpatients.
Health minister Simon Burns said: "Average waiting times are low and remain stable. The vast majority of patients still receive treatment within 18 weeks.
"We are committed to driving improvements in performance and the quality of care that the NHS provides - including keeping waiting times low."