Monday, December 6, 2021

IN THE U.K.: One Out of Ten People in England Now On an NHS Waiting List Following L***downs

Ambulances queuing outside the Royal London Hospital, in London CREDIT: Yui Mok/PA

Source: Telegraph

Published: November 11, 2021

By: Laura Donnelly and Ben Butcher

One in 10 people in England are now on an NHS waiting list, with victims of suspected heart attacks waiting almost an hour for an ambulance, official data shows.

The figures show a record 5.8 million people waiting for operations, including more than 300,000 who have waited for over a year, with mounting chaos across Accident and Emergency (A&E) units and ambulance services. 

Hospital chief executives said the service was “at breaking point”, while charities warned that it was “on its knees”.

NHS targets say those suffering strokes and chest pains which can denote heart attacks should be seen within 18 minutes.  But the average ambulance response time is now 54 minutes, up from 24 two years ago, the data for October shows. 

A similar deterioration is seen in the most urgent category, which includes cardiac arrests. Average waits for ambulances are now more than nine minutes, against a target of seven which was being hit before the pandemic.  

The NHS figures show the worst A&E performance on record, with just 73.9 per cent of patients seen within four hours, against a target of 95 per cent.

Deborah Ward, senior analyst at the King’s Fund, said: “[These] stats reveal the worst performance since current records began for ambulance calls, A&Es and waits for planned hospital care.

“In a normal year, any one of these would ring alarm bells – taken together before winter has even begun, they suggest a health and care system running hot for such a sustained period whilst still dealing with Covid-19. It is now on its knees.”

Health chiefs said NHS 999 services have just had their busiest ever month, with the figures for October recording more than one million calls. Ambulances responded to more than 82,000 life-threatening call-outs, an increase of more than 20,000 on the previous high for October in 2019.

The figures show that major A&Es treated more than 1.4 million people during October – the highest ever figure for that month, and the third highest of all time.

The data reveal that the total waiting list is the biggest on record. These statistics cover September and show 5.8 million waiting – a rise from 5.7 million in August and the highest since records began in 2007. 

The number of NHS patients waiting at least a year for surgery and other planned treatment rose to 300,566 in September - more than double the 139,545 a year before. They include 12,491 people left waiting at least two years for operations - a rise of 28 per cent in a month. 

NHS officials said the latest figures showed services carrying out more diagnostic tests and started more treatment than the same time last year.

The figures show 1.9 million diagnostic tests and 1.3 million patients started consultant-led treatment during September. This compares with 1.7 million tests and 1.1 million treatments in the same month last year.

NHS leaders claimed services had reached “breaking point”, with safety put at “unacceptably high” risk. 

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