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Nearly 20,000 people are waiting for potentially life-saving treatment at King George and Queen’s hospitals.

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More than 1,200 of the patients on the list at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) had been waiting for longer than the 18-week target in June.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, the list has grown by 13 per cent since June last year, with the longest waits up 35pc.

Cancer sufferer Norman Pascall, 81, had an operation on his bladder at Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way delayed.

Mr Pascall, of David Drive, Harold Park, said he had been waiting for the procedure since March but it did not go ahead until August 8 – five months later.

He added: “In July I was outside the operating theatre on a stretcher when they told me the surgeon wasn’t available.

“Then I had to wait another month – surely there must have been a back-up?”

Sue Tarr, the Royal College of Nursing’s London operational manager, called the rise in waiting times “deeply worrying”.

She said: “There is a good and urgent case for increasing resources to help staff continue to provide the standards of service which patients have come to expect.”

BHRUT chief executive Averil Dongworth said the trust has been “working hard” to meet targets and the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks has now dropped to 958.

She added: “In line with the rest of the NHS, we are experiencing increased demand on our services and unfortunately this can affect waiting times.

“All patients who are identified as waiting have been, or will be, contacted to agree a date for their procedure.

“We expect to continue offering extra surgical sessions until the end of October and are working with commissioners to ensure any waits beyond 18 weeks are then as a result of patient choice only.”

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