Huge rise in pa­tients wait­ing for spe­cial­ists

540k fig­ure dou­ble 8 years ago

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - EX­CLU­SIVE BY NIGEL NEL­SON Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor nigel.nel­[email protected]­daymir­

OVER a quar­ter of a mil­lion more pa­tients are now wait­ing for longer than four and a half months for spe­cial­ist NHS treat­ment.

That is al­most dou­ble the 277,000 who had to wait be­yond 18 weeks eight years ago.

New fig­ures un­earthed by Labour show that 263,000 ex­tra pa­tients are be­ing left un­treated as the Gov­ern­ment misses more than 90 per cent of its tar­gets.

They in­clude nearly 12,000 more pa­tients lan­guish­ing on wait­ing lists be­fore be­ing seen by con­sul­tants for Parkin­son’s dis­ease, mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease and epilepsy – a 205 per cent rise.

Shadow Health Sec­re­tary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Th­ese are shock­ing fig­ures.

“Be­hind ev­ery statis­tic is an anx­ious pa­tient wait­ing longer in pain and risk­ing their health de­te­ri­o­rat­ing fur­ther.”

The big­gest 206 per cent rise has been in der­ma­tol­ogy re­fer­rals, which in­clude eczema treat­ment and wart and ver­ruca re­moval. There has been a 188 per cent in­crease in over-18 week waits for rheuma­tol­ogy treat­ment, which means arthri­tis, spinal pain and osteoporos­is suf­fer­ers left in agony.

Ear, nose and throat waits are up 164 per cent – that’s 27,670 more pa­tients not get­ting their hear­ing loss, laryn­gi­tis and chronic ton­sil­li­tis treated.

Over-18 week waits in gy­nae­col­ogy cases have gone up from 14,400 to 31,700 and heart prob­lems 9,300 to 20,500 - both rises of 120 per cent.

Labour Le­ices­ter MP Mr Ashworth said Health Sec­re­tary and Tory PM con­tender Matt Han­cock should get a grip.

He added: “Rather than play lead­er­ship games he should fo­cus on the day job.”

The to­tal num­ber of pa­tients stuck on NHS wait­ing lists in­creased by 1.7 mil­lion to 4.1 mil­lion be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2011 and the same month this year.

NHS Eng­land is now re­view­ing pro­pos­als to aban­don both fourhour emer­gency and 18-week stan­dards.

PM hope­ful Han­cock ought to fo­cus on his day job JONATHAN ASHWORTH LABOUR MP

FRANKIE Sho­p­land should not be alive. He may be a bois­ter­ous three-year-old now, but he could hardly have been born with more wrong with him.

His right lung and kid­ney were miss­ing, and his heart was on the wrong side.

Putting that right in­volved plac­ing the med­i­cal equiv­a­lent of scaf­fold­ing in­side his tiny body to keep his re­main­ing or­gans in place. Many op­er­a­tions fol­lowed.

As far as his par­ents know, there is no one else in the world like Frankie. His con­di­tion does not even have a name.

Frankie is quite sim­ply a mir­a­cle of med­i­cal science. And he is also tes­ta­ment to the ded­i­ca­tion, skill and de­ter­mi­na­tion of all the NHS staff who put their hearts and souls into sav­ing him.

No one can put a price on that. Which is why our NHS must never be for sale.

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