We all know that the winter period can be a difficult one for the NHS. As the temperature, drops demand for services rises.
However, it is very concerning that we are already seeing hospitals around the region struggling to cope with this demand. In the last few days Preston Accident and Emergency has been desperate for extra staff whilst Wigan announced waiting time of over 6 hours and appealed for patients to stay away.
I contacted the Royal Bolton Hospital to ask what the situation was at our own A&E and was told that currently only 60-70% of patients were being seen within the four hour waiting target. I hope to also meet with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Hospital later this month to discuss the issues in more detail.
I have previously raised my concerns that failures in other parts of the NHS are passing demand on to A&E. However, even during times were there is no increase in overall attendance, year on year the hospital needs to cater for more elderly and complex patients. These patients should never be made to feel at fault or blamed for high demand as some have implied, they are entitled to care whenever they need it. This is a clearly identified trend and not a one off surprise. The Government should provide the NHS with the resources required to better cater for this need.
The fact we continue to see problems like this is testament to the failings of this Conservative Government. The NHS is not being properly funded, NHS Trusts across the country are facing a deficit; services are being cut back leaving patients’ needs unmet.
Patients must be at the heart of our health service and essential services like A&E should be a priority. Labour will always fight for our NHS and I will continue to raise these matters with the Government.