Labour is calling for an emergency summit to come up with a plan to ease the pressure that is currently piling up on the NHS.
Yesterday, it was revealed that waiting times in England are the worst they have been for a decade, as the A&E missed their target of see 95% of patients within four hours - they saw 92.6% of patients in the four-hour time frame.
A winter crisis of more people coming through A&E and more people calling 999 for an ambulance continues to put a major strain on the service and Labour is calling for action. Labour wants ministers to meet with all areas of care - including the likes of health, council and 999 services - to help put together a plan that will ease the pressure on A&E departments and the NHS as a whole.
It has been revealed that more and more hospitals have been forced to declare ’major incidents’ to cope with the number of patients that are coming through A&E departments. This means that routine and planned operations are postponed so there are more doctors to work in the busy A&E departments.
While the Conservatives are trying to play down the problems currently facing the health service, Andy Burnham has published a letter that he sent to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for action.
The letter read: “I believe you should call an urgent summit, including representatives from local government, the police, fire and ambulance services, as well as emergency care and other NHS professionals, to assess the situation and put in place a coordinated plan to ensure patient safety and support the performance of A&E departments across England.”
A further £700 million was believed to have been given to the NHS to try to ease the pressure that the service faces during the winter months, however, some doctors believe that just giving the service money is not the answer.
Dr Chris Moulton - who works in emergency medicine at the Royal Bolton Hospital - told the Daily Mirror: “There is no quick fix to the A&E crisis. The Government says it has ploughed an extra £700 million into the NHS to help over winter. It's like giving someone £50 at midnight on Christmas Eve and telling them to get themselves a present. It's just too late now.”
The ageing population, difficulties in getting appointments to see local GPs, major cuts to social care, and people arriving at A&E with a problem that is neither an accident nor an emergency are believed to be some of the major reasons why the NHS is currently facing this mounting pressure.
The NHS is set to be a major battleground during the general election with the Conservatives pledging an extra £2 billion for the NHS in 2015/16 should they win the next general election. Labour are making the NHS the centre of its election campaign and say they will give the service £2.5 billion if they are in Downing Street in May. The Liberal Democrats have set out their five-year plan for the NHS saying that they will meet the £8 billion that the NHS needs by 2020.
However, the NHS is a service that is under strain right now and action is needed to ease the pressure today not in four months time.
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