In ten years from 2000 a decade of sustained investment by a New Labour government managed to repair much of the damage that had been done to the NHS by 21 years of under-funding. In 2010 David Cameron’s government threw that into reverse with a new decade of austerity.
That’s why performance of England’s NHS is now the worst-ever, with sky high and still rising waiting lists, huge delays in emergency services and dwindling numbers of GPs struggling to deliver increased numbers of appointments.
Latest figures show fewer than 100,000 acute beds available, and a record 96% bed occupancy.
It’s this lack of capacity that is causing desperate delays. In November 37,837 patients waited more than 12 hours on trolleys in A&E, a 34-fold increase from 1,111 before the pandemic in November 2019 – despite numbers of emergency admissions almost 8% lower than 2019.
In England there were more 12-hour trolley waits in January-November 2022 (293,275) than in the previous 10 years combined: recent trolley waits have been as long as 99 hours.
Full story on The Lowdown, 19 January 2023