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Long hospital waits increasing

12th July 2011

The amount of patients who face lengthy waits for hospital treatment in England is on the increase, according to new figures.

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The terms of the NHS Constitution state that patients should be seen within 18 weeks.

However, data shows there are 236,155 people on the waiting list who have not been seen within that time frame, which represents an increase of 8.5% in a year.

Almost half of that figure have been on the list for more than six months.

The government stated that the reason for the long waiting times could be caused by medical or personal issues.

However, doctors said the increase was due to pressure on NHS budgets.

Patients who need orthopaedic operations such as hip replacements are facing the longest waits.

Peter Kay, the president of the British Orthopaedic Association. who formerly advised the Department of Health, said the amount of people who had to wait longer than 18 weeks meant the government's suggestion was not likely to be correct.

"One of the issues with 18 weeks is that once you have missed the boat there is less incentive to get the patient treated. They get left on the list for longer than they otherwise would," he added.

A Department of Health spokesman said average waiting times were "stable" and the government wanted to keep them that way.

But he added: "There will always be some longer waits reported - including as a result of clinical decisions, patients missing appointments and patients exercising choice." 

 

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Comments

Janet Wilds

Wednesday 13th July 2011 @ 17:47

Its not politically correct to mention the obvious, but although government admit our poplulation is growing faster now then ever before, resources from drinking water to a basic roof over your head and access to our National Health services will become more difficult and waiting lists will get longer; infact the government will soon have to introduce extra charges for all medical services, starting with patience missing appointments.


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