NHS patients are having to wait longer for some surgery and fewer operations are taking place, according to new data.

Waiting times went up by an average of 6 per cent from 2010 to 2011, with patients requiring a new knee having to wait 99.2 days, the Patients Association report found. But the Department of Health disputed the study, claiming that admissions are up 3.5 per cent year-on-year, while waiting times have either fallen or remained at low levels.

The report found waiting times for hernia surgery rose by almost eight days, from 70.4 in 2010 to 78.3 in 2011.