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Additional investment ‘desperately needed’ as NHS performance figures show record highs

A&E attendances at record numbers

NHS

The latest NHS combined performance statistics have revealed that over 4.5 million people are waiting for treatment, the highest figure ever recorded.  

Of this 4.5 million people, patients waiting over 18 weeks for consultant-led treatment rose from 502,000 to 601,000 between June 2018 and June 2019.

Additionally, the number of patients in A&E seen in over 4 hours increased by 32.4% compared to July 2018, with patients waiting more than 4 hours from decision to admit to admission jumping by 34.7% and those waiting more than 12 hours reaching a 192.6% increase.

“The new Government must realise that behind these figures are patients who are suffering because they do not have timely access to care and staff who are being pushed to their limits, to the detriment of an effectively functioning health service,” said Dr Rob Harwood, BMA consultants committee chair.

These latest statistics come hot on the heels of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing £1.8bn extra funding for the NHS. According to government, £1bn of this will be spent this year, which will increase the NHS’s annual capital budget by 30%.

Although many have welcomed the cash injection, experts have been critical, with independent charity The Health Foundation’s senior economist Ben Gershlick saying there is a £6bn maintenance backlog in trusts nationwide alone.

“Year on year, the demands made on frontline services continue to grow, with attendances at A&E significantly higher than at this time last year. Our dedicated staff do all they can for patients, but they are being stretched to breaking point,” said Nick Ville, director of membership and policy at the NHS Confederation.

“This week’s announcement of additional investment in the NHS is welcome, as the money is desperately needed to modernise services and to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care,” he added.

With a record numbers of A&E attendances reported in the statistics, staff working in the NHS are pleading with the government to address issues of staff shortages and changes to NHS pensions schemes. Senior doctors have said that the new rules mean they cannot work extra shifts, which is needed to help tackle the record waiting times.

Commenting on the NHS performance crisis, Richard Murray, chief executive at The King’s Fund, said: “For the first time the winter crisis in A&E has merged straight into a summer crisis, with no sign of the usual summer recovery.”

‘Today’s figures make it clear that patients face a long wait to see improvements in care as a result of the NHS funding boost,” he added.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised a “major overhaul” of the NHS pension schemes, in a bid to allow consultants and family doctors to increase their hours without facing punitive taxes.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

9th August 2019

From: Healthcare

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