Jeremy Hunt insisted there was "no excuse" for the problems in hospitals this winter
He insisted there was “no excuse” for the problems in a string of hospitals this winter. And he spoke of his “frustration” after official statistics from NHS England yesterday revealed that the number of A&E patients seen within the target of four hours fell to a record low of 86 per cent in December.
The number of people waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted to a hospital bed doubled to more than 2,500 last year. Those waiting more than two months to start cancer treatment after an urgent referral was at a record high of 25,157.
And the proportion of patients receiving hospital treatment within 18 weeks also fell below 90 per cent for the first time since 2011. The NHS in England is performing at its worst-ever level against a range of targets, including A&E admissions, cancer referrals and people forced to wait on trolleys.
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Mr Hunt wants the NHS to be the safest and best in the world
We have a very good plan that has the support of the NHS
In a BBC interview, Mr Hunt insisted there was already a “big transformation programme” under way with the aim of treating more people at home or in the community to ease burdens on hospitals.
But he said change would take time and progress had been “disappointingly slow” in some areas. He said: “It’s incredibly frustrating for me. I want NHS care to be the safest and best in the world.”
He said there were “no excuses” for cases such as 89-year-old Iris Sibley, who was stuck on a hospital ward at Bristol Royal Infirmary for more than six months because a nursing home place could not be found for her.
Mr Hunt insisted there was a "big transformation programme" under way
He insisted the Government will be addressing problems in social care preventing many patients from being discharged from hospital – so-called “bed-blocking”. Mr Hunt said: “We recognise there is a problem to be addressed and we are going to do that.
“We have a very good plan that has the support of the NHS. It will take time to deliver, but in terms of immediate support we are doing what we can with extra financial support in the NHS this year – more doctors, more nurses.”
Barrister Sir Robert Francis, whose 2013 report uncovered poor care in Mid Staffordshire, said yesterday the NHS was facing an “existential crisis” which made a further similar scandal inevitable.
Hospital viewers slam Jeremy Hunt Thu, January 12, 2017
Viewers tuning in to new BBC series Hospital, which focusses on the pressures faced by the NHS, have hit out at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
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Hospital viewers slam Jeremy Hunt as cancer patient is denied surgery ‘This is your fault'
A total of 82,730 planned operations were cancelled last minute last year
He said: “The NHS is facing an existential crisis. It is running faster and faster to try and keep up and is failing, manifestly failing.”
A total of 82,730 planned operations were cancelled at the last minute last year – the second highest on record and an increase of 16 per cent on 2015 and a third higher than in 2010. The figure was just 4,000 short of the highest ever of 86,746 in 2001.
The president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Clare Marx, said: “Last-minute cancellations are just the tip of the iceberg. “Many more patients are cancelled in the days before their operation is due. It is heart breaking for patients to psychologically prepare themselves for an operation, only to be told it can’t go ahead.”
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