Patients were waiting on average for 13 weeks for routine treatment at the North Cumbria Integrated Trust in February, new figures reveal. 

The King's Fund think tank, a charity set up to help shape health and social care police, said another national record for the number of people on hospital waiting lists shows the strain on the NHS is reaching 'unacceptable levels'. 

The news follows after The Borders General Hospital have just announced they are at full capacity due to 'extreme pressures' of staffing and bed shortages. 

NHS England figures show the average waiting time for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust was 13 weeks at the end of February – which is down from 14 weeks in January, and from 15 weeks this time last year. 

READ MORE: £3.4 million upgrade will 'increase the number of patients who can be treated'

The figures reveal that there were 31,423 patients on the waiting list as of February –  which is up from 31,006 in January, and 26,665 in February 2021.

And of the 31,423 patients, 1,014 had been waiting for longer than two years. 

On a national front, 6.2 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February, a figure which is up from 6.1 million in January. 

This is highest figure nationally since records began in August 2007.

Positively however, whilst the figures show the overall waiting list has continued to grow, the number of people waiting more than a year and two years have fallen. 

Danielle Jefferies, analyst at The King’s Fund, said the latest national figures show pressures are now reaching “unacceptable levels” in all parts of the health and care system.

"A&E departments remain full of patients in need of urgent care, and separate data shows a similar story in general practice and social care.

"In March, 22,500 people waited over 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E – a more than thirty-fold increase compared to a year ago," she said. 

NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: "Nobody should be under any illusion about how tough a job NHS staff have on their hands, balancing competing priorities and maintaining high quality patient care.

"Despite pressure on various fronts and the busiest winter ever for the NHS, long waits fell as staff continue to tackle two-year waits by July thanks to the innovative approaches to care they are now adopting," he said. 

READ MORE: The Borders General Hospital at maximum capacity