NHS England’s most recent waiting list figures reveal an all-time high 6.8m waiting for care in England alone – almost 1 in 8 of the population.
At Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, almost 78,000 are waiting for care, and only 69% are seen within 18 weeks, well short of the NHS 92% target. At Sheffield Children’s Hospital only 61% being seen within the target 18 weeks.
Responding to the data, Labour councillor Ruth Milsom, who chairs the council’s Health Scrutiny Sub-committee and is a long-time NHS campaigner, said,
“The Conservatives cannot blame the pandemic for this situation. Through 12 years of government they have failed to tackle issues of recruitment, retention, funding, and capacity across the NHS system. Waiting lists had already risen on their watch from 2.5m in 2010 to a then record 4.2m in March 2020 before the pandemic struck. Cabinet Ministers accept that, under the Tories, ‘pandemic preparation was found wanting and inadequate,’ admitting that it is their own failures since 2010 that have led to this latest crisis.
“People’s lives are deeply affected – patients and NHS workers alike. Where is the compassion and sense of responsibility from those running the country? Will Therese Coffey step up and act now to rescue the situation she’s inherited? She could improve recruitment and retention by immediately making a 15% pay award that would bring NHS salaries back to where they were in 2010 in real terms, for example.
“Our health workers mustn’t carry any more of this burden of Westminster failure. This new government has a short window in which to make some bold decisions. It’s time for those who hold the purse strings to stop putting the financial interests of the super-wealthy before the health interests of those they govern.”