Keep our NHS Public has called a day of action on Saturday as the NHS reports ‘unprecedented’ delays after a decade of Tory cuts and sell-offs. The organisation has issued the following statement:
Today’s latest monthly NHS situation reports predictably tell of an NHS under unprecedented strain. The number of urgent operations cancelled in December was 332. Added to this ‘there were 100,578 four-hour delays from decision to admit to admission this month, which compares to 83,554 in the same month last year’. This is the highest level of four-hour delays from decision to admit to admission since records began. ‘Of these, 2,846 were delayed over twelve hours which compares to 627 in the same month last year.’
In November doctors union the British Medical Association (BMA) analysed current performance data and trends, predicting that the NHS was on track to endure its worst ever winter as pressure on services intensified. A lack of recovery from the summer, staff shortages exacerbated by pension tax legislation forcing senior doctors to work fewer shifts, and a focus on Brexit planning rather than winter preparedness has now combined to cause the worst winter crisis on record.
More beds are urgently needed, however, even if new promised hospitals eventually materialise, these will not solve the bed crisis, as the NHS has now lost around 17,000 since 2010. The government’s promises will not alleviate the immense pressures facing the NHS this season, the best we can hope for is that these conditions are not replicated next winter. However, with a funding commitment that fails to account for inflation and is well below what experts agree is required, these statistics look set to be repeated throughout the coming year.
The NHS is now also haunted by the spectre of a Coronavirus pandemic, with assurances from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock that it is “well prepared” being met with scepticism. Long waits by vulnerable patients in densely populated A&E departments clearly have the potential to increase the spread of the virus.
Dr John Puntis, Consultant Paediatrician and Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public says:
“The latest performance figures for the NHS in England once again show the devastating effects of 10 years of Conservative austerity, with record target fails for A&E waits and cancer services, and a huge and expanding waiting list for elective surgery. Rather than boasting about its under-investment, the government should come clean that it’s so called “plans” amount to no more than treading water. The NHS and the public deserve much better – where are the promised Brexit dividend, the thousands more nurses and doctors, the new hospitals and the investments in community care? It’s time to take back control of our NHS from Johnson, Hancock and the private companies like Virgin that have been actively undermining it for all these years.”
Tom Gardiner, junior doctor and member of Keep Our NHS Public says:
“Sadly these latest performance figures come as no surprise to anyone who works on the NHS frontline. Whether it’s the trollies lined up in A&E, patients waiting longer and longer for an operation, or elderly people unable to get the care they need, our health service is falling apart at the seams. These are the consequences of a government that holds the public in contempt. Crisis has become the new normal for our health service but don’t be mistaken, the last 2 months have been some of the worst in the history of the NHS.”
In response to this news, Keep Our NHS Public are holding a Winter Crisis Day of Action this Saturday 15th February. Taking the form of marches, demonstrations and other events at over 20 UK locations we aim to raise public awareness of the crisis facing the NHS. Further details can be found by clicking here.
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