Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up

With Parliament set to debate the Health Bill this week, new research shows 1.4 million waiting longer than the target times for treatment, diagnostics and A&E.

With Parliament set to debate the Health and Social Care Bill this week, new research shows 1.4 million people waited longer than the target times for treatment, diagnostics and Accident & Emergency since the election – a 54% increase in the number of patients suffering long waits for their diagnosis or treatment.

The analysis, based on official Department of Health statistics, shows more than 400,000 more people have suffered long NHS waits in the 14 months since the election compared with the most recent equivalent 14 month period under Labour.

This includes:

• Fifty six thousand more people who waited more than 18 weeks for treatment;

• Sixty thousand more people who waited more than six weeks for diagnostic tests;

• Two hundred and eighty six thousand more people who waited more than four hours in A&E.

Shadow health secretary John Healey said the “alarming” figures showed the NHS was “starting to go backwards again under the Tories”, adding:

“Labour put record investment into the NHS, and brought waiting times down to an all time low. Now, with little over a year of a Tory-led government, over 400,000 more people have suffered long waits for diagnosis and treatment.

“So much for David Cameron’s election promise to protect the NHS.

“The impact on patient services of David Cameron wasting millions of pounds on new NHS bureaucracy is becoming all too clear. Instead of railroading his Health Bill through Parliament, the prime minister should scrap his plans now and let NHS staff get on with the job of treating and diagnosing patients.”

This morning, Shirley Williams became the latest Liberal Democrat to hit out at the newly revised health reforms Bill, expressing “huge concerns” and describing ministers as being “bewitched” by the “flawed” US healthcare system. Baroness Williams expressed concern at the expanding role of the private sector and the way foundation trusts are being allowed to take on more private work.

She added:

“The remarkable vision of the 1945 Attlee government, of a public service free at the point of need for all the people of England, should not be allowed to die.”

So given all the doubts, the worries and the figures, can David Cameron really be trusted on the NHS? Is the NHS “safe in his hands”? And what lies behind his government’s constant undermining, unnecessary, costly reorganisation and flawed, widely opposed reforms?

As Polly Toynbee wrote in yesterday’s Guardian:

“The Commonwealth Fund, comparing similar countries, puts the UK top for effectiveness, care and efficiency and for patient confidence, equity and safety; the UK is significantly less expensive than France, Germany and the US. Britain is the only country where those on below-average incomes are no more likely than the better-off to report trouble in paying medical bills or accessing health due to cost.

“Mortality from cancer and heart disease was falling faster than anywhere, while waiting lists were all but abolished. Labour’s spending yielded good results, despite bad deals on doctors’ pay and PFIs. When David Cameron told the Today programme in January that the NHS was “second rate”, he had to apologise sharpish.

“Yet he embarks on this great disruption, costing £2bn, just when the NHS faces its harshest financial squeeze. Funds are not ring-fenced as promised, hit by extra VAT, national insurance and inflation, plus £500m sliced off for social care. Ageing and new technology – new cancer drugs, mechanical hearts – add extra just to stand still. Waiting times are up, hospitals are declaring deficits and by next year, cash shortages will be critical.

“So why break it all up now?

“The only explanation is blind ideology, still there in the revised bill, revealed by the legal opinion commissioned by the activist group 38 Degrees, expounded by Dr Evan Harris, rousing the Lib Dems…

“Extraordinarily, this gigantic re-disorganisation is already happening, with the husks of PCTs already handing over without waiting for the act. So badly construed is this law that some of it will surely never happen. Politically hospitals will not be allowed to go bankrupt, as this envisages. (Research to be published shortly shows that hospital mergers neither save money nor improve quality.)

“Whatever the bill claims, of course, the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, will still have bedpans tipped over him in the Commons when the NHS erupts. People already protest against any hospital closure: imagine their wrath at finding local beds blocked with private patients to cover costs, or hospitals closed by liquidators.

“With every NHS organisation vehemently opposed, where’s the political profit?

“The only explanation is that the very existence of an exceptionally successful nationalised health service is such an affront to everything Conservatives believe in that it’s worth the political risk of demolishing it once and for all.”

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96 Responses to “Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up”

  1. Paul Cassidy

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  2. Keira Evans-Determan

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up (Left Foot Forward): With Parliamen… http://t.co/F1TWB6j

  3. JN Adams

    Safe in Cameron's hands? – Of course not! http://t.co/p59TzSD

  4. VeeBee

    Dave it's not working..
    1.4 million people waited longer for treatment,since the election – a 54% increase.
    http://j.mp/qb1Niv
    #saveournhs

  5. Ian Parker

    HEALEY: 'Over 400,000 more people have suffered long NHS waits under Cameron' – http://t.co/ZKHcyEw & http://t.co/ZxBbpnX

  6. catalyst media

    RT @leftfootfwd: Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/aN0iWII

  7. UNISON Health

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/IBZdWQn

  8. Chris Read

    HEALEY: 'Over 400,000 more people have suffered long NHS waits under Cameron' – http://t.co/ZKHcyEw & http://t.co/ZxBbpnX

  9. nico phillips

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for #NHS treatments, tests, and emergency all up http://t.co/GLiUVLD #savethenhs

  10. Kathryn Rose

    HEALEY: 'Over 400,000 more people have suffered long NHS waits under Cameron' – http://t.co/ZKHcyEw & http://t.co/ZxBbpnX

  11. Patricia Farrington

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/wENiWB8

  12. violetmaze

    RT @leftfootfwd: Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/aN0iWII

  13. Ed€€ D*-%&

    RT @leftfootfwd: Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/TywnueC

  14. Patrick McGuire

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/wENiWB8

  15. Martin Dando

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  16. Mike Le-Surf

    "@UNISONOurNHS: Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/Ziutt7O" > #bigtorycon #libdemfail

  17. Ash Turner

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  18. nonny mouse

    >>Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up

    Waiting times may have increased, but that does not mean that the quality of treatment has decreased. Under Labour doctors made it a priority to see people on time rather than treating the sickest who needed it most. It was a classic example of targets changing behaviour for the worse. Personally, I would prefer doctors do their best to save lives than bring down waiting list times. If a life is saved I don’t mind waiting an extra week or two for an appointment.

    >>Labour put record investment into the NHS

    Err, didn’t Labour plan to cut NHS spending? Just ask Gordon’s best friend – maybe he talks about it in his new book.

    Actually, Labour had already started closing NHS facilities and cutting jobs just before the election to save money. I remember reading about people protesting about it in the local papers. Does ‘evidence-based’ mean reading the Guardian but ignoring everything written in other newspapers?

    Labour actually borrowed the money for consumption, not investment. There is a difference. With investment you spend once and productivity improves. With consumption you have to keep on spending and productivity varies with spending. If it was investment then we wouldn’t need to treat as many patients because the investment would have made us healthier and waiting times would have permanently declined. Clearly the money was spent on consumption, not investment.

    If you want to continue spending (which is not actually Labour party policy) then you need to tell us what taxes you will raise, because we can’t keep on borrowing. It is not fair to borrow for spending today and make our children pay for it and their own treatment when the bill becomes due.

    >>The remarkable vision of the 1945 Attlee government, of a public service free at the point of need for all the people of England, should not be allowed to die.”

    Who is suggesting that we do otherwise?

    Stop scare mongering and tell us how Labour would make the NHS better. That requires that it become more efficient to treat our ageing population with the same resources. That involves finding money for new treatments.

    >>The Commonwealth Fund, comparing similar countries, puts the UK top for effectiveness, care and efficiency and for patient confidence, equity and safety;

    The UK had the most efficient health system in 1997 too. Efficiency is cost divided by output, so if you keep costs to a minimum and ignore the outputs then you can be more efficient while more people die from preventable diseases.

    Labour were right to increase health spending, but they were wrong to focus on the size of the NHS budget rather than what is done with it. There was and is too much waste in the NHS. If Labour want back into power they need new ideas and to tell us how they will run the NHS better, not rely on lies and scare tactics and and the endless spending increases that cannot be afforded by the country.

    Why don’t you use your ‘evidence based blogging’ to show how new ideas could make Britain better instead of attacking the other guys? If not I suggest rebranding your site as ‘same old BS based blogging’.

  19. Mr. Sensible

    Shamik, further to all that, did you see the reports in the papers about dialogues between the DH and private health providers about taking over NHS hospitals? Doesn’t this all just tell you one thing, you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.

  20. Simon Spooner

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  21. tracy e

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up l Left Foot Forward – http://t.co/wENiWB8

  22. Knut Cayce

    RT @leftfootfwd: Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/4Z8qG05

  23. Tris

    Waiting times drastically reduced in Scotland where ne’er a Tory gets their hands anywhere near the HS…and never shall.

  24. alimurtaza

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/vmaClwB

  25. paulstpancras

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  26. Angus Carruthers

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  27. Gwen

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  28. James Rupa

    NHS safe in Tory hands? – Waiting times for treatments, tests and A&E all up under the Tories http://t.co/NzN4Wd0 #saveournhs

  29. robert the crip

    But Ms Williams also stated she saw no problem with private firms entering into the NHS, so long as they made things better, so I’d not be jumping on the Liberal band wagon to soon.

  30. Liza Harding

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  31. Kate Russell

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  32. Jill

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  33. Stuart Sorensen

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  34. Nick

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/qnK2kNs #NHS

  35. nonny mouse

    >>But Ms Williams also stated she saw no problem with private firms entering into the NHS, so long as they made things better, so I’d not be jumping on the Liberal band wagon to soon.

    Implying that you oppose something that makes the NHS better. Dogma over common sense?

  36. Sian

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  37. For Fox Sake

    Dave it's not working..
    1.4 million people waited longer for treatment,since the election – a 54% increase.
    http://j.mp/qb1Niv
    #saveournhs

  38. phil dodd

    Dave it's not working..
    1.4 million people waited longer for treatment,since the election – a 54% increase.
    http://j.mp/qb1Niv
    #saveournhs

  39. Kevin Richards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Safe in Cameron’s hands? You must be kidding – Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up http://t.co/0n0ZXAs

  40. Bern O'Donoghue

    Dave it's not working..
    1.4 million people waited longer for treatment,since the election – a 54% increase.
    http://j.mp/qb1Niv
    #saveournhs

  41. Jill Hayward

    Dave it's not working..
    1.4 million people waited longer for treatment,since the election – a 54% increase.
    http://j.mp/qb1Niv
    #saveournhs

  42. Riverside

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  43. Rebecca Devitt

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  44. eleanor

    Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up: http://t.co/IJ9363V by @ShamikDas #SaveTheNHS

  45. Ten reasons peers should vote against Lansley’s anti-NHS bill | Left Foot Forward

    […] Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up – Shamik Das, September 4th […]

  46. Tory voters trust BMA and co. over Cameron and Lansley on the NHS | Left Foot Forward

    […] Safe in Cameron’s hands? Waiting times for treatments, tests, and A&E all up – Shamik Das, September 4th […]

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