The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of November 2021, there were 184 956 people on the waiting list at University Hospitals Birmingham. 31, 770 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 2008 people had been waiting more than 2 years. These astounding rates are the worst in England.
In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Now, 1 in every 9 people in England are on the NHS waiting list.
The Conservative Government has no plan to deal with the chronic shortage of GPs, doctors, nurses and social care staff, and has not set clear targets to reduce waiting lists and waiting times. As a result, the NHS went into the latest wave of Covid infections with the longest waiting list ever. Hospitals around the country are reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
However, the Trust, which is also one of largest in the country, has had to face additional pressures with the highest number of Covid patients in the country. Pressures on local hospitals are now becoming unsustainable with many recent reports of critical and high alerts being issued.
Commenting, Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston in Birmingham said: “People across Birmingham are being forced to wait months and even years for treatment, often in pain and discomfort. It is unacceptable and will have appalling consequences for patients.
“Our local health care staff at the University Hospitals Birmingham worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but they are now stretched like never before. Our local hospitals are part of the largest NHS Trust in the country and it’s plain to see how they have been neglected by this Government.
“I’ve written to the hospital trust to both raise my concern and offer my support. However, the Government must give us the staff and support so that hospitals can get through this winter. It simply isn’t good enough for waiting times to be this long and for Birmingham to continue to have the highest rates in England.”
Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “The NHS went into this wave of Covid infections with 6 million people on waiting lists for the first time ever. As a result of a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS was unprepared for the pandemic and didn’t have any spare capacity when Omicron hit.
“It’s not just that the Conservatives didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards. Now patients are paying the price, waiting months and even years for treatment, often in pain, distress and discomfort.
“Labour will secure the future of the NHS, starting by building the workforce it needs to deliver better care and shorter waiting times, just as the last Labour government did.”
Notes to Editors:
Population figure source: ONS Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2020