Figures released this morning show that despite the heroic performance of the hospital staff around the country, the conditions that they are having to battle are so great that hospital performance in England is now at its worst since records began. Key targets for cancer, hospital admissions and A&E waiting times were all missed, with the latter two hitting the highest levels since the targets were introduced.
As many will be aware, Boris Johnson made a visit recently to Addenbrooke’s hospital. What was not so widely reported was that he was widely booed by the staff as he left the premises. Doctors and nurses are desperate, with more than one in ten of current staff nurse posts unfilled, bed occupancy stubbornly above 90% and set to soar in the winter months. The buildings are desperately in need of refurbishment and the staff are having to keep things going without the funding that they need. The temptation to let Mr Johnson know their feelings about the policies that have made their lives so difficult was understandably too great.
James Bull, Labour Party parliamentary candidate for South East Cambridgeshire commented:
“I am deeply concerned by the figures announced today. They are a shocking indictment of the lack of proper stewardship of the NHS, one of our true national treasures. My daughter was born at the Rosie. My parents have been treated fantastically well by the dedicated staff at Addenbrooke’s. But the staff are having to work with one hand tied behind their backs by the lack of resourcing and privatisation by stealth that we have seen since 2010. Only today I have also seen my local GP service have to close its doors at short notice, advising patients to ring 111 if they are ill. They are indicating that they do not expect to reopen until at least Monday. Another example of the strain on all areas of our NHS.
“Labour was the party that founded the NHS and it is Labour that can be trusted to put it back on its feet and give it the funding, resources and staffing that it requires. We won’t let it down like the Tories, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, have done during these years of austerity.”
Jon Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, commenting on Matt Hancock saying that “the NHS is performing better than it ever has” on the BBC World at One (WATO) radio show today after these figures were announced, said:
“This is staggeringly out of touch. Matt Hancock is clueless about the levels of pain and misery he and his Tory cuts have caused patients.
“He insists “in many ways the NHS is performing better than it ever has” on the day it’s confirmed the NHS A&E performance is the worst ever. This shows the Tories simply don’t care about our NHS. Yet again it’s been shown our NHS needs Labour’s £40bn cash rescue plan”
Today’s performance figures show:
There are 4.42 million patients on the waiting list
84.8% are waiting under the 18 weeks – the government target is 92%; this is the worst performance since this target was introduced in 2012
83.6% of A&E patients were admitted or transferred within 4 hours – below the 95% target and the worst performance since this target was introduced in 2004
76.9% of cancer patients started their treatment within 62 days – below the 85% target
Full quote from BBC WATO today, Matt Hancock, said:
“We’ve clearly seen a very significant increase in demand for hospital services over the last 12 months – about a quarter in terms of the people going to A and E in the last five years,
“And these figures show a 4.4% increase in attendances over the last 12 months and that increase in demand is clearly putting pressure on the system.
“Now parts of the system are responding extremely well.
“In terms of getting operations done there’s been a 7% rise so when people talk about the performance of the NHS in many ways the NHS is performing better than it ever has.”