From the Town Hall
From the Town Hall

One thing that people are coming up against time and again are the real difficulties in accessing medical treatment.  Whether that’s getting to see a GP, or something even more serious, it’s a problem that is getting steadily worse in many cases.

New figures recently published by NHS England reveal a record 6.5m people are stuck on hospital waiting lists. In the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust area which includes Crawley, 36529 people are waiting for treatment.

At the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, following a decade of Tory mismanagement there were already 4.4 million people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Now, more than 1 in every 9 people in England are on the NHS waiting list.

The pressure has been showing locally – back in September last year, it was being reported that East Surrey Hospital had to declare a critical incident which temporarily halted outpatient appointments and some planned operations.

This is not a criticism of our dedicated NHS staff who are doing their best under difficult circumstances.  But it is a criticism of the people in government, whose neglect has put them in that position.

Too many people in Crawley and the wider area are waiting too long for treatment on the NHS. That’s not good enough, and it’s ruining people’s lives.

The Conservatives can’t blame this on the pandemic. After a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS went into the pandemic with staff shortages and record waiting lists.

The truth is, this government is delivering chaos and queues as far as the eye can see. Whether it’s passports, driving licences, airports, courts or healthcare, the Conservatives are turning this country into Backlog Britain.

We need a real plan to get waiting lists under control. The last Labour government reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks. The next Labour government will secure the future of our NHS, providing the staff it needs to treat patients on time.

Cllr Michael Jones,

Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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