Tens of thousands of patients were waiting for routine treatment at Royal Cornwall Hospitals in November, figures show.

It comes as the King's Trust health charity said it will be a challenge to meet the Government's latest pledge to reduce waiting lists by the end of the year.

NHS England figures show 45,886 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust at the end of November – up slightly from 45,668 in October, and 35,563 in November 2021.

Of those, 3,095 (7%) had been waiting for longer than a year.

The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at Royal Cornwall Hospitals was 13 weeks at the end of November – down from 14 weeks in October.

Nationally, 6.9 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of November.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund, said there was “no shying away from the reality that the NHS is deep in crisis”.

Ms Anandaciva added: “While there are huge delays in admitting patients, there are also serious issues in discharging patients – with over 13,000 people stuck in hospital despite being medically fit to leave.

“Meanwhile, the waiting list for planned hospital care remains stubbornly over 7 million and cancer services are also under pressure, which underlines the challenge in meeting the Government’s latest pledge to reduce waiting lists by the end of 2023.”

Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in November – a rise on 1.5 million in October.

At Royal Cornwall Hospitals, 15,460 patients were waiting for one of 13 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.

Of them, 7,270 (47%) had been waiting for at least six weeks.

Cancer Research UK chief executive Michelle Mitchell said the figures “paint an extremely troubling picture for people affected by cancer”, adding: “The last time all targets for cancer waiting times were met was as far back as 2015, and the number of people waiting for diagnosis and treatment remains unacceptably high.

“It can be easy to get lost in statistics – but each one of those numbers represents someone’s child, parent, partner, sibling or friend.”

Other figures show cancer patients at Royal Cornwall Hospitals are not being seen quickly enough.

The NHS states 85% of cancer patients urgently referred by a GP should start treatment within 62 days.

But NHS England data shows just 70% of patients urgently referred by the NHS who received cancer treatment at Royal Cornwall Hospitals in November began treatment within two months of their referral.

That was down from both 72% in October, and 91% in November 2021 last year.

NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS will keep its foot on the accelerator to continue to make progress on the Covid backlog and hospitals have today been asked to ensure anyone waiting longer than 18 months has their treatment booked in before March.”