Wigan borough MP demanding action to cut hospital waiting times

A borough MP has called for action to be taken to address the soaring number of patients waiting for treatment at Wigan’s hospitals.

New figures from NHS England have revealed that thousands of people are waiting for medical care in the borough.

A total of 38,140 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the end of the year – up from 37,283 the month before.

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Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
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This included 1,826 people who had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 157 people who had been waiting more than two years.

December’s figure was also 37 per cent more than a year earlier, when there were 27,783 patients on the waiting list.

Yvonne Fovargue, Labour MP for Makerfield, has now raised her concerns about the waits faced by patients and called for something to be done. It comes as the Conservative Government published its elective care recovery plan for the NHS. It has set an ambition of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plan was the “biggest catch-up programme in the history of the health service backed by unprecedented funding”.

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But Ms Fovargue said: “People across the borough are being forced to wait months and even years for treatment, often in pain and discomfort. Now the Government is telling them that, despite hiking up their national insurance, they will continue waiting longer for years to come.

“It is clear that the longer we give the Tories, the longer patients will wait.

“Our local health care staff worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but they have been stretched like never before.

“The Government must give us the staff and support our local trust needs to get patients the quality care they deserve, when they need it.

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“The last Labour government reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks. The next Labour government will secure the future of our NHS, providing the staff it needs to treat patients on time.”

Across England, 6.07m people were waiting to start treatment at the end of December – up from six million in November and the highest number since records began in August 2007.

Of them, 311,000 had been waiting for longer than a year – 39 per cent more than in December 2020.

Among those on the waiting list are people needing scans and tests, hip and knee operations, and cataract surgery.

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NHS national medical director Prof Stephen Powis said: “While pressures remain for our staff, with the highest number of life-threatening ambulance call-outs and 111 calls for the month of January, NHS staff are committed to bringing down the backlog, and the clear plan published this week will help increase the number of checks, tests and treatment provided for patients.”

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