Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has called on the Government to get a grip on rising waiting lists for healthcare in Tameside and Stockport.
The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of September 2021, there were 36,466 people on the waiting list at Stockport NHS foundation trust, and 18,559 at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. In total, over 4,700 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment across the Tameside and Stockport trusts.
In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. However, the pandemic had a devastating effect on an already-fragile NHS, with the national waiting list is now 37.7 per cent higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK (an increase of 1,598,451 people). The current figure means that just over 1 in 10 people in England are on the NHS waiting list (10.3 per cent).
The Government is yet to publish a detailed plan to address the vast NHS waiting list, with hospitals around the country already reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
Gwynne has praised the hard work of staff at the Tameside and Stockport Trust’s, and stated that they have ‘worked miracles’ in the context of ‘chronic funding’, but has urged the Government to rapidly outline how it plans to address the waiting list crisis. Last week, Gwynne highlighted the shocking level of cuts to local public health services over the last five years.
Nationally, the NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses. In the Budget last month, the Chancellor did not set out a plan to recruit, train, and retain the staff needed to solve this waiting list crisis.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“I am incredibly grateful to the staff at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. They have faced chronic underfunding from this Government, and have worked miracles with incredibly restricted resources.
These waiting lists are evidence that the Government has simply not provided the necessary support to help the NHS get through the pandemic. If people across Denton and Reddish cannot receive timely care, there will be truly awful consequences.
The Government must urgently outline how it plans to tackle and bring down waiting lists. The people of Denton and Reddish need a proper plan, and local trust’s need a proper plan. We cannot afford to delay on this.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, added:
“We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under. These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.
“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs, which Rishi Sunak has failed to provide despite imposing a punishing tax rise on working people.”