Thursday, June 13, 2024

Labour will clear the East of England’s NHS backlog in five years

LABOUR will today (Wednesday) commit to ending the Conservatives’ NHS waiting list backlog in the East of England within five years, as part of the party’s first steps for a future Labour government.

In the East of England, the total waiting list is now 917,437, with 425,144 waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment and 51,815 waiting more than a year. A staggering 260 have been waiting more than 18 months for treatment.

Labour will reveal new figures that reveal waiting lists across England will hit 10 million if the Conservative Party is given another 5 years in office. That number of people would fill Wembley stadium 111 times over.

On a campaign visit to the West Midlands, Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, will commit the next Labour government to clearing the backlog of patients who have been waiting for more than 18 weeks within five years. Pointing to the last Labour government’s record, he will tell voters that Labour has done it before and will do it again.

Labour’s plan to clear the Tories’ NHS waiting list backlog in five years includes:

As a first step, 40,000 extra appointments, scans, and operations a week on evenings and weekends
Double the number of scanners to diagnose patients earlier
Deliver the biggest expansion of NHS staff in history
Use spare capacity in the private sector, free of charge to patients
Reform the NHS to get more out of the service for what we put in

The extra appointments and scanners will cost £1.3 billion and will be paid for by clamping down on tax dodgers and closing non-dom tax loopholes.

Since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, waiting lists are up 600,000, and the Conservatives have failed to identify a single change they will make to the NHS, should they win the election.

The NHS Constitution guarantees patients treatment within a maximum wait of 18 weeks. However, this target has been missed every month since February 2016. The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks today stands at 3.2 million, almost half of the total waiting list, with more than 300,000 patients having waited more than a year.

In 1997, patients routinely waited 18 months for NHS treatment. The last Labour government cut maximum waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks and ended long waits for treatment. Today, 4,000 patients have been stuck on waiting lists for 18 months.

Waiting lists have trebled to 7.5 million since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, and were at record lengths before the Covid pandemic struck. The Conservatives have missed every target set in the NHS Elective Recovery Plan.

Wes Streeting, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

“Over 14 years, the Conservatives have taken the golden inheritance left by the last Labour government and wrecked it. Their neglect, incompetence, and underinvestment in the NHS has left millions of people in the East of England waiting in pain and agony. Patients are forced to put their lives on hold while they wait, holding them back from living life to the full and contributing to our economy.

“Rishi Sunak has given up on the NHS. He has no plan to turn this crisis around, which he blames on doctors and nurses instead of taking any responsibility himself. Patients deserve solutions not scapegoats.

“If the Conservatives get another five years then nothing will change, the crisis in the NHS will get worse, and waiting lists will hit 10 million. The longer the Conservatives are in charge, the longer patients will wait.

“It will be the mission of the next Labour government to beat the Tory backlog, so patients are seen on time again.”

Jen Craft Labour’s candidate for Thurrock, said:

“The last Labour Government delivered the shortest waits and the highest satisfaction in NHS history. We did it before and we will do it again.

The choice at this election is clear – wait longer under the Conservatives or know that the NHS is there for you in Essex when you need it with Labour.”

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