Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has slammed the Government as new figures have revealed that the winter crisis which affected the NHS has spilled over into March with only three-quarters of patients seen withing four hours.
According to figures released by NHS England, just 76.4% of patients needing urgent care were treated within four hours at hospital Accident and Emergency units in England in March – the lowest proportion since records began in 2010 and significantly below the 76.9% figure recorded in February.
Furthermore, those patients waiting to receive planned procedures in hospital within the 18 weeks guaranteed by the NHS constitution has fallen to its worst level. Figures revealed that just 87.9% of those awaiting hip, knee, hernia, cataract or other types of operations started their care in February, with almost half a million patients have waited longer than 18 weeks. Most recently, the Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, decided to suspend both targets for 2017-18 because so many hospitals could not meet them.
The findings come just weeks after the BMA warned that the winter crisis faced by the NHS was set to continue throughout summer. The worst-case scenario predicted by the BMA would see the health service facing A&E attendances, waiting times and admissions at a level similar to the 2016/17 winter during summer time. The last time this occurred during the 2016/17 winter the British Red Cross that the NHS was facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Waiting times at Accident and Emergency units are going up every moth and it is just not good enough. I know how stretched our hospital staff are within our own community here in Tameside and Stockport with both Tameside and Glossop and Stockport Hospitals seeing record rises in A & E waiting times compared to 2010.
“I hope the Government heeds the warning of healthcare professionals who warn that the previous winter crisis could roll over into the summer.”