Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, has today called for action on the rapidly growing NHS waiting lists her constituents face. The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of December 2021, there were 93,343 people on the waiting list at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 4276 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 241 people had been waiting more than 2 years. The waiting list has risen by 7,133 since June 2021, a rise of 8% in just eight months.
At the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, following a decade of Tory mismanagement there were 4.4 million people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Now, 1 in every 9 people in England are on the NHS waiting list.
The NHS went into the latest wave of Covid infections with the longest waiting list ever, understaffed and overstretched.
The government published its elective care recovery plan for the NHS this week but failed to set out how it would address the workforce shortages the NHS is facing. The plan set the government’s ambition as beginning to reduce waiting lists in 2024.
The head of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals trust, Dame Jackie Daniel said in November 2021 that all the NHS staff were feeling “really pressured”. She called the current situation “unsustainable”.
Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, said:
“People in Newcastle Central are being forced to wait months and even years for treatment, often in pain and discomfort. Now the government is telling them that, despite hiking up their national insurance, they will continue waiting longer for years to come.
“It is clear that the longer we give the Tories, the longer patients will wait. As the TV show ‘Geordie Hospital’ shows, the staff at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but they have been stretched like never before.
“The government must give us the staff and support the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust needs to get patients the quality care they deserve, when they need it.”
“Record numbers of people are waiting for care, and they are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and distress.
“After a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS went into the pandemic with record waiting lists and staff shortages of 100,000. It’s not just that the Tories didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards.
“The Conservatives are so incompetent they’ve come up with a plan that sees patients paying more in tax but waiting longer for care.
“The longer we give the Conservatives, the longer patients will wait.
“The last Labour government reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks. The next Labour government will secure the future of our NHS, providing the staff it needs to treat patients on time.”