Saturday 24 December 2016

IN NHS: Patients Waiting More Than 18 Weeks For Treatment Rises By More Than 40%


In October 2015, NHS England waiting lists showed 253,954 people had been left waiting more than four-and-a-half months after referral for treatment.

But by October this year the figure had jumped to 360,266.

There are now more than 3.7million people waiting for NHS treatment in England because of “rationing” due to savage frontline cuts, one GP claimed.

Around nine in 10 people are treated in less than 18 weeks but this number has fallen from 92.3 per cent a year ago and 94.2 per cent in October 2013.

In October 2013, 169,907 people waited more than 18 weeks meaning the number waiting longer than the prescribed limit - known as the Referral to Treatment Pledge or RTT - has more than doubled in four years.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt vowed to end 12 month waiting lists in 2014 but experts said the crisis engulfing the NHS is the worst in living memory.

Dr Ian Campbell, a family GP from Nottingham, said: “My patients, and people all across the country, are waiting longer for hospital treatment.

"It might be because of increased demand, but it’s certainly about reduced funding. However it’s dressed up, the harsh reality is that health care within the NHS is being rationed because of spending cuts.

"Longer waits means my patients suffer more, and for longer, and in many cases the delay can be life-threatening.

"If we really value our NHS we need to fund it properly, for all our sakes.”

It comes as figures released showed there were 374,268 A&E attendances at hospitals in England in the week ending December 18.

The figure is a 10 per cent increase on the same period last year when there were 339,434.

NHS England said: “The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to cope with the ongoing pressures of this winter.

"However, as we go into the Christmas and New Year holiday weekends, the public can play their part by avoiding going to A&E unless it is an emergency and by using urgent care and walk-in services, local pharmacies, and out of hours GP services, as well as NHS 111 for medical advice.”



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