Yvonne Fovargue MP: A challenging time for the NHS

The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of September 2021, there were 35,256 people on the waiting list at our local NHS Trust. 2,343 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 68 people had been waiting more than two years.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

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 now 37.7% higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK (an increase of 1,598,451 people).

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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 its 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.

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.

If people across the borough can’t get the timely care they deserve, there will be devastating consequences.

The doctors, nurses, and other health care staff working locally are doing amazing work, trying to see as many people as they can and provide quality care. But there’s only so much they can do after a decade of underfunding and without the staff numbers they need.

I call on the Government to come to our local NHS’s aid with a plan to staff and support the NHS in order to bring down waiting lists.

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.

One thing that we can do to help the NHS and protect ourselves and the ones we love is to get jabbed.

Vaccines are the most effective public health intervention to protect people against infectious diseases.

The Covid vaccines have saved many lives and I believe we must do everything possible to promote uptake.

Expanding access to booster shots should be a priority in the coming months and Ministers must get a grip on this issue.

Far too often, during the past 18 months Boris Johnson and his Ministers have been found asleep at the wheel.

Ministers must focus their efforts and provide the resources needed to address the stalling vaccine programme; the clinically vulnerable are not getting the jabs they need and people in our constituency and across the country cannot access boosters. And while the highest concentration of infections is amongst young people, only 20% of eligible children have been vaccinated.

On current trends, the booster programme would not be completed until spring 2022.

I urge the Government to commit to 500,000 jabs a day to ensure as many people as possible are protected as we head into winter.

Right now, the figure is less than 300,000 a day, which is why I support calls for more pop-up vaccine clinics, greater use of community pharmacies and the mobilisation of retired medics.

We must get ahead of the virus by strengthening the vaccination programme, ensuring proper sick pay and isolation support, reversing cuts to public health and investing in better ventilation systems for businesses, public spaces and schools.

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