NHS news review

Waiting times increase under the ConDem coalition government.

Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver criticises Lansley’s “responsibility deal” with food and beverage companies to reduce obesity.

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

Number of NHS patients waiting more than 18 weeks has doubled, says report | Society | The Guardian

Report by King’s Fund follows release of DoH figures that showed 48% increase in breaches of legally binding NHS targets

The number of patients waiting more than the recommended maximum of 18 weeks for NHS treatment has soared by 48% since last year.

Figures released by the Department of Health came as a separate report by the King’s Fund found that in more than 45 hospital trusts, more than 10% of patients were not admitted within 18 weeks of being referred by their GPs, breaching legally binding targets in the NHS constitution. The figures have more than doubled on the previous year.

The report found that while the NHS overall had managed to meet targets on waiting times and infections despite hospitals having to find savings of between 6% and 7% this year, this masked “considerable variation” at a local level.

Using government data, the Guardian found that 28,635 patients in England who were treated in an NHS hospital during August had been waiting more than 18 weeks, compared with 19,355 in the same month in 2010 – a rise of 48%.

The King’s Fund, a leading health thinktank, concurred with this analysis, pointing out that “although average waiting times remain within target range, one in four hospitals failed to meet the target”.

Rob Findlay, who runs NHS waiting times company Gooroo, pointed out that in St Georges, Kingston, Bath, Guy’s & St Thomas’, Sheffield and South London hospital trusts, there were “1,000 patients on waiting list for more than a year”.

On this measure, the numbers waiting are the largest since the coalition came to power last year, when the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, reviewed or eased several NHS waiting time targets.

One of the measures changed was Labour’s target that no one should wait more than four hours in A&E, with the threshold lowered from 98% to 95%. The King’s Fund found that 29 hospitals failed to meet that measure. In Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, a third of the 13,000 patients who used the hospital’s A&E ward waited more than four hours.

Related: Sharp rise in NHS patients waiting more than 18 weeks for care | Society | guardian.co.uk

Jamie Oliver brands Andrew Lansley obesity plan as ‘patronising rubbish’ | Society | The Guardian

Health secretary sets out ‘national ambition’ to cut 5bn calories a day from Britons’ daily diet

Andrew Lansley’s announcement of a push to get the nation to cut 5bn calories a day from its diet was immediately slammed by health experts on Thursday, and branded “worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish” by Jamie Oliver.

Faced with a mounting obesity crisis that a succession of government initiatives on exercise have failed to turn around, the health secretary and the chief medical officer, Sally Davies, issued a “call to action” on diet, pointing out that alcohol contributed 10% to our calorie intake.

Lansley urged individuals to eat less and eat more wisely, and promised to talk to the food industry about voluntary cuts in the calorie content of processed food and drinks.

But the new plan, which Lansley termed a “national ambition” rather than a strategy, drew immediate derision from food campaigners and doctors. “Simply telling people what they already know – that they need to eat less and move more – is a complete cop-out,” said Oliver.

The TV chef and food campaigner added: “This whole strategy is just worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish.

Related:McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy | Politics | The Guardian

Department of Health putting fast food companies at heart of policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease

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