Responding to the publication of the NHS performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:
'Today’s data show the NHS is facing an emergency but the roots of this lie in political choices made over the last decade, not the cold weather or seasonal flu.
'54,532 patients spent more than 12 hours in A&E waiting for a hospital bed in December, taking the total for the year to 347,707 - over four times as many 12 hour trolley waits as in the previous ten years put together. Waits for cancer treatment reached new highs in 2022, while the waiting list for routine operations is 7.2 million. Behind these numbers are patients left in pain, people enduring unnecessary suffering and, in some cases, lives tragically lost.
'There are no quick fixes – if the Prime Minister wants to live up to his promise to cut waiting lists without tricks or ambiguity, the first step is, to be honest with the public about the scale of the crisis and what it will take to get the NHS back on track. The pressures on the NHS result from a decade of underinvestment in the NHS and other public services, a failure to address chronic staff shortages, raiding capital budgets and the longstanding neglect of adult social care.'
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