The Nuffield Trust think tank said thousands of patients on the waiting list across England are suffering in pain, while NHS staff are still dealing with burnout from the last two years.
NHS England figures show the median waiting time for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was 15 weeks at the end of January – up from 14 weeks in December.
But this was shorter than the average 18-week wait a year previously. There were 63,179 patients on the waiting list in January – up from 61,606 in December, and 59,700 in January 2021.
Of those, 5,292 had been waiting for longer than two years.
Nationally, 6.1 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of January.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid recently announced NHS reforms, which include paying for patients who have been waiting the longest to travel to less busy hospitals or private facilities for care.
But Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund health think tank, said these promises will “ring hollow if hospitals throughout England continue to flash red”.
At Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, 11,978 patients were waiting for one of 15 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.
The figures also show patients were waiting an average of 13 weeks for routine treatment at York Teaching Hospital in January.
The Department of Health and Social Care said its plan to tackle the Covid-19 backlog is backed by a multi-billion pound investment over the next three years, and it will also publish a 10-Year Plan on cancer.
A spokeswoman added: “We will deliver new surgical hubs and at least 100 community diagnostic centres to help patients get the surgery they need and earlier access to tests – including for cancer – delivering an extra nine million scans, checks and procedures by 2025.”