Tens of thousands of patients were waiting for routine treatment at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust in March, figures show.

The Society for Acute Medicine said the latest data shows pressure on the NHS nationally is "unsustainable" and needs urgent action from the Government.

NHS England figures show 66,618 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which runs Colchester, Ipswich, Clacton and Harwich hospitals at the end of March.

That is up slightly from 66,104 in February and 54,406 in March 2021.

Of those, 2,097 (three per cent) had been waiting for longer than a year.

The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust was 11 weeks at the end of March – down from 12 weeks in February.

Nationally, 6.4 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of March – the highest number since records began in 2007.

But the number of people waiting more than two years has dropped for the second month in a row.

Other figures show cancer patients at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust are not being seen quickly enough.

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

But NHS England data shows just 77 per cent of patients urgently referred by the NHS who received cancer treatment at the trust in March began treatment within two months of their referral.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it has provided a record £36 billion over the next three years for the NHS and social care, and launched a plan to tackle the Covid backlog.

A spokesman added: “We recognise the unprecedented pressure NHS staff are under from the pandemic – especially frontline ambulance workers."