Waiting times rise.
Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians says that the National Health Service is “creaking at the seams. Our members are finding it difficult to cope.”
Blindness fears for diabetics as a drug is refused on the NHS.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Number of cases missing waiting time target of 18 weeks since GP referral soars by a third
The number of patients not being treated within recommended NHS waiting times has soared by a third since the coalition came to power, new official figures revealed.
A total of 27,834 patients in England who received inpatient treatment in May 2011 had waited more than 18 weeks for it since being referred by their GP, compared to 20,504 in May 2010 – a year-on-year rise of 33.5%.
That is higher than the year-on-year rise between April 2010 and April 2011, when it was 24%.
The Department of Health (DH) admitted that while 1.8% of outpatients in May 2010 were not treated within 18 weeks, that had risen to 2.3% in May 2011. Similarly, the proportion of inpatients who had to wait longer than expected to undergo surgery or some other treatment also rose over the same period, from 7.1% to 9.2%.
The deterioration in this measure of NHS performance casts further doubt on David Cameron’s repeated pledges to keep NHS waiting times low, especially the 18-week Referral To Treatment (RTT) target. He last month made that one of his five personal pledges to voters on the NHS.
Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “The apparent rise in waiting lists is both worrying for patients and evidence of an underlying cause – the increasing pressures on the NHS in general.
“The NHS is now creaking at the seams. Our members are finding it difficult to cope.”
And shadow health secretary John Healey added: “The NHS is starting to go backwards again under the Tories.”
But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said waiting times were a priority for the government and still remained “low and stable”. [?]
Related Rise in long waits for treatment shows you can’t trust Cameron to keep NHS promises – Healey | The Labour Party NHS figures show system is ailing under pressure of cuts, warns chief medic – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent NHS ‘creaking at the seams’ as waiting lists rise – Telegraph RCP President: NHS creaking at the seams | Royal College of Physicians
Hundreds of diabetes patients could lose their sight after the NHS rationing watchdog said it was too expensive to give them a treatment for an eye condition from which many suffer.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence acknowledged that the drug Lucentis was effective in treating diabetic macular oedema, which affects 50,000 Britons.
But in final draft guidance on the drug yesterday, it refused to make Lucentis available on the NHS, saying it was not ‘cost-effective’ compared with laser treatment.
Diabetes UK said Lucentis was the first licensed treatment to improve vision – and therefore quality of life – in those with sight loss due to DMO. It was also more effective than the laser treatment favoured by Nice.
‘This decision means more people will needlessly lose their sight,’ said a spokesman. ‘We pressed hard to make this treatment available on the NHS and we will campaign for Nice to reconsider its decision.
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