Commenting on the publication today of the NHS monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Assistant Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Today’s data shows patients, their families, and NHS staff continuing to pay the price for short-term thinking.
'The new data comes in a week where it has become clear that growing financial pressures will force the NHS to scale back activity and once again risk capital budgets being raided to shore up services. A perfect storm of long waiting times, overstretched services, and funding pressures are brewing as the service heads into winter.
‘In October, over 44,000 patients spent over 12 hours in A&E departments waiting for a bed. The waiting list for routine operations continues to rise, reaching 7.7 million in September, with over 391,000 waiting longer than a year.
‘Recent Health Foundation analysis estimates that NHS waiting lists will reach a high of 8 million next summer, regardless of whether industrial action continues. Long waits are ultimately avoidable but need a long term approach to improving care, retaining staff, and reforming our neglected social care system.
‘The government must match its rhetoric on taking long term decisions with action, or patients will continue to face unacceptable and, often, unsafe waits to access NHS care.’
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