THE NEWS this week has confirmed that our NHS is facing a crisis whilst our ambulance services are at breaking point.
The Government has failed to solve the critical and deep-seated issues in our health and social care services, many which existed long before the pandemic, such as staff shortages and underfunding.
During a recent statement on this, I raised the example of Warwick resident Joyce, a 96-year-old survivor of the Coventry Blitz, who fell at her care home and lay in agony for ten hours.
After calling 999, she was told 63 people were waiting for an ambulance. On that day in April, there were over 1,100 hours lost in hospital handover delays.
The Conservatives have had 12 years to fix our broken system.
Instead, our A&Es are at breaking point – and the Government’s failures are costing lives.
Since March, the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has been on the highest level of alert.
Most ambulance services across the UK are now also at the same stage and are facing grave situations.
Director of Nursing for WMAS Mark Docherty has predicted that the service may well collapse by August 17 if hours lost by crews delayed outside hospitals keep increasing.
That is less than three weeks away. The Government isn’t acting fast enough.
The cross-party Health and Social Care Committee in Parliament found the crisis with understaffing is now putting people at serious risk. The Government has failed to train new staff, retain existing personnel and pay them appropriately.
If you know anyone working at one of our regional hospitals, they will tell you that there has not been a single day recently when A&E isn’t rammed – and that an insufficiently sized workforce is on hand to cope with the inflated demand.
Things are so bad that former health service boss, Professor Sir Simon Stephens – in a move sure to be cheered on by the Government – has suggested that patients should be charged for hospital stays to raise vital funding.
Rates of people paying for private treatment has risen by nearly 40 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Private Healthcare Information Network figures.
And we’ve known for a long time that private healthcare firms will retain a particularly strong interest in our NHS as the Government continues to strike trade deals with the US and other nations.
This will only fuel suggestions the Conservatives are running our NHS into the ground so they can implement wide-reaching privatisation, ideally with greater public consent.
So where is the Government’s plan? These problems have been known about for nearly a decade. Who is going to fix this?
In response to my question, I look forward to meeting with the newly installed Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, to continue to make the case for urgent action.
Unfortunately though it is highly likely he won’t be in the job long. Let’s hope his successor is a champion of the NHS – free at the point of use, for everyone in the UK.