NHS Waiting Figures Show Sharp Improvement
We are constantly subject to a diet of doom and gloom about the government’s reforms of the NHS from the left and their cheerleaders in the media. If you listen to some of the more hysterical commenters in the media and on the Internet the NHS is being “privatised”, “dismantled” or suffering from “deep cuts”. The truth could not be more different. The NHS is an institution which takes HUGE sums of tax-payers money (over £100bn) every year and its funding is continuing to grow year on year despite austerity.
However, the NHS has to be reformed to ensure that we all receive value for the massive amount spent. Waste must be constantly driven down and greater efficiency sought. That is what any responsible government should be doing, and this one is!
The key test though for most people is not the money spent but the quality of the care delivered and the time they have to wait. On the latter point recent figures have suggested a significant and important improvement. Contrary to all the rubbish spouted about how the NHS is “on its knees” and suffering under this government, the facts show that the number of people waiting for more than a year for hospital treatment has fallen dramatically from around 20,000 in September 2011 to just 1,600 in September this year.
Under Labour many people waited for ages even to get onto the official waiting list and then had lengthy waits for the treatment they needed. I can confirm this from personal experience in my own family.
Health minister, Lord Howe said “The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks is more than 60,000 lower than in May 2010, despite hospitals admitting over half a million more planned patients a year.” This is a very significant achievement both in getting the waiting lists down but also treating many more patients. I can well remember the screams from Labour and the Guardian when by scrapping their hidden waiting lists the official lists initially increased. This took real courage by Ministers but now we are begininng to see the fruits and many many thousands of NHS patients have benefitted as a result.
Work must continue to get ALL waiting lists down to the shortest times possible but this government is making good progress and the Lansley reforms will deliver further efficiencies, as well as more patients treated more quickly. The new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also unafraid to tackle the remaining areas of inefficiency and poor service, and to take on the Luddites in the public sector trades unions. This is good news for patients and tax-payers.
The NHS is truly safe in Conservative hands!