Lisa Nandy MP: Action needed to solve NHS crisis

An increasing number of people are contacting me about their experience of accessing NHS urgent and emergency care.
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They describe waiting hours for an ambulance and enduring shockingly long waits to be seen when they get to A&E.

One person told me that an elderly relative who had a fall was left lying on the floor for over four hours waiting for an ambulance and then spent 10 hours in A&E before seeing medics.

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Such examples illustrate the massive pressure our NHS urgent and emergency care services are under.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Across the country people requiring urgent medical attention, such as those who have had a suspected stroke or heart attack, are waiting for nearly an

hour on average for an ambulance; ambulances are queuing for hours outside A&Es unable to handover; and some patients are being told to phone a friend or call a cab rather than rely on emergency services.

Last month in Greater Manchester, NHS figures showed that 1,751 people endured more than 12 hours of waiting in A&E for a bed on a ward.

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That figure is in stark contrast from just 158 patients facing this wait in July 2021.

The latest NHS figures for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reveal that almost 4,000 people had to wait more than four hours for emergency care at A&E last month.

Just 71 per cent of patients admitted to A&E were seen within four hours – the NHS says that 95 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged in that time.

Sadly, the situation in ambulance and emergency departments is not unique.

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There are now a record high 6.73 million people on the NHS waiting list.

Nationally, the standard of 92 per cent of people being seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.

Ministers point to the impact of Covid-19 but our NHS entered the pandemic short of 100,000 staff with waiting lists already at record levels.

We now have the highest waiting times in the NHS’s history and the lowest patient satisfaction since 1997.

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The situation is not the fault of paramedics and other NHS staff who worked tirelessly and at great personal risk to save so many lives during the pandemic.

People who have contacted me about this issue have been at pains to express their gratitude for the efforts of NHS staff under extremely difficult circumstances.

The Government said measures are being taken to increase the number of call handlers and improve ambulance capacity.

Yet it has not set out how this will happen or with what money, resources or staff.

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At the same time, they are putting up taxes on working people while lowering standards for patients.

We’re paying more but waiting longer.

Ministers must look at the entire health system to alleviate pressures.

This must include supporting ambulance and emergency services with the resources they need; ensuring social care is fit for purpose; improving timely discharge from hospital; and bringing forward a long-term workforce plan to address widespread staff vacancies.

The Government must step up and show the urgency that this crisis demands.