HIP and knee replacement patients will be forced to wait months in agonising pain after health service cuts see delays double.
Figures from health service regulators show waiting list numbers for hip and knee surgeries are expected to rise to 800,000 by 2019, compared with a current figure of 370,000.
Hernia, cataract and non-urgent brain and heart procedures will also be affected.
The delays would leave 5.5 million patients facing longer waiting lists, up from 3.7 million.
Ian Eardley, vice president, said: “NHS Improvement’s waiting times estimated paint a devastating picture for patients and hammer home just how damaging de-prioritising the 18-week target for planned surgery will potentially be.
“Without further help from the next Government after the election, this is what the real impact will be on patients of successive under-funding of the NHS.”