The number of patients treated in A&E has rocketed by 211,000 a year under David Cameron. That is three times higher than under Labour and last night the shock figure was blamed on the Government’s decision to “dismantle the NHS”.
There was a rise of just over 70,000 patients a year attending hospital A&E units between 2004 and 2010. Critics point out that since then Mr Cameron has axed the NHS Direct helpline and allowed the closure of 53 NHS walk-in clinics.
He also scrapped the guarantee of a GP’s appointment within 48 hours and plans for longer surgery opening times.
Independent statistics experts at the Commons found that the number of patients attending A&E has increased by an average of 211,256 every year since 2010.
Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne said:
“David Cameron always sounded ridiculous trying to blame changes a decade ago for an A&E crisis that only began on his watch.
“Now these figures expose the truth. It’s under the Tory-led Government that hospital A&E departments have become overwhelmed.
“Cameron has created this crisis by systematically dismantling alternatives to A&E. A quarter of walk-in centres have been closed, NHS Direct has been scrapped and funding for elderly care has been slashed.
“To make matters worse, this Government has scrapped the guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours and scrapped Labour’s scheme for GP evening and weekend opening, taking us backwards from the seven-day NHS we need.
“You can’t trust David Cameron with the NHS.”
Despite their popularity, nearly a quarter of the 230 NHS walk-in clinics offering seven-day care and evening opening have closed in the past three years, according to Monitor, the health service regulator.
The Government ditched the NHS Direct telephone helpline and its teams of experts and botched the introduction of its replacement 111 helpline which has triggered a wave of protests.
This is article first appeared in the Sunday Mirror, 17th November 2013