43,178 people are now on NHS waiting lists across Somerset NHS Trusts . That’s up 40% in a year. There are now 31,705 people on the waiting list at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and 11,473 people on the waiting list at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust according to the latest figures – that’s a combined increase of 40% in a year. Across both Trusts there are 2,288 people that have been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 66 people had been waiting more than 2 years. Across the country there have never been more people on the waiting list – more than 5.8 million are currently waiting. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Just over 1 in 10 people in England are on the NHS waiting list (10.3 per cent). 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.
Leader of the Labour group on Somerset County Council Cllr Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South,Labour) said, “Our amazing NHS staff support us every day during and following the pandemic, but waiting lists in the two NHS trusts that cover Somerset are too long and getting longer. That’s not just a statistic – it’s local people living with real pain, and risk longer than they should. This isn’t just about Covid – key targets haven’t been met across the country for years. From waiting lists to A&E to getting an appointment with your local GP, for local people our health service is going backwards.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “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.”
Shortage of staff
Bridgwater Town Councillor Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria, Labour) said “There is a large shortage of medical and auxiliary staff within the NHS, that is making it extremely difficult for people to access medical care. The closure of the Medical Centre and GP Surgery at the Victoria Park Community Centre, is due to the shortage of Doctors. It takes a long time to train a Doctor and the Conservative Government had no understanding as to how many Doctors were needed to make sure waiting lists could be reduced. This is not just about the pandemic, which has only exasperated the shortage that already existed. The present Boris Johnson Government lacks both real leadership and planning and consequently people needing medical care and a local GP surgery are suffering”.
Former Health service worker and Sedgemoor Labour councillor , Cllr Li Gibson (Labour, Bridgwater Eastover) said “All hospital staff have been under pressure to drip feed the system due to ‘social distancing’ therefore there has been less appointments, with some entry avenues completely closed down. Some Doctors have been deployed to staff high admission areas, others waiting around. Some GP practices are and have been for 18 months, on a go slow trying to cope and adapt to phone call appointments which tend to take longer and are less functional and satisfying for both parties. Waiting times will naturally increase as some people delay necessary GP appointments and consequently there will be more waiting for hospital appointments. Also follow- up appointments for previous diagnosis It doesn’t help that all staff are under more pressure as some colleagues have decided to leave or have been used then pushed out down to the current vaccine mandate. I’m sure the tories in government have business contracts waiting in the hospital wings for the chance to say ‘ this isn’t working, let’s change it’.
People are getting wise
Leader of Bridgwater Town Council Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour, Bridgwater Westover) said “The National Health Service has clearly been under pressure from Covid and at the same time from Brexit. People are only now waking up to the fact that their vote really did mean getting rid of the many dedicated European health workers . At the same time these high waiting lists are going to be dealt with by the Tories claim that they will ‘build a better NHS’. But what’s their record?? I suspect this means privatisation, thereby reducing the Government’s obligations and reducing the publics choice to determine what treatments are available. I suspect it means a rationing of free provision and a race to the bottom by private companies stepping in to a captive and desperate ‘market’. On the positive side FINALLY the opinion polls are turning around as the people are getting wise to what the real agenda of the Tories is and always has been. “
Tory Poll Lead vanishes
In the majority of public opinion polls conducted in November, Labour have finally overtaken the Conservatives. The slump for the ‘Blues’ comes in the wake of a spiraling cost of living crisis, post Brexit realities as opposed to promises and sleaze and corruption laid bare across the Tory side of the house. Things can only get redder……