COLUMN: Tory cuts are to blame for NHS crisis

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When even the accident and emergency department at King’s Mill Hospital starts to miss targets, having been one of the country’s best performers recently, the problems must be worse than we feared.

In December, Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust managed to treat just 86.4 per cent of patients attending A&E within four hours – far short of the 95 per cent target.

When you look at only patients who attended King’s Mill’s major A&E department, excluding minor injury units, that figure falls to 79.8 per cent.

Seven patients waited more than 12 hours from the decision being made to admit them to hospital to actual admission. This has not happened for months.

Other figures released by the NHS reinforce the difficult conditions that our doctors and nurses are working in and that patients are experiencing.

A total of 233 patients were stranded in ambulances outside King’s Mill Hospital for between 30 and 60 minutes between December 25 and 31. Forty-one patients waited more than 60 minutes. This means that 43 per cent of patients had to wait at least 30 minutes in the back of the ambulance.

The hospital trust is also running at far above the recommended limit for bed capacity of 85 per cent, with 91.4 per cent of beds occupied as of December 31. Occupancy levels of above 85 per cent are proven to be linked with bed shortages and increased numbers of health care-acquired infections.

In my view there is just one place the finger of blame can be pointed for this worrying situation, and that is the Government.

Tory under funding and cuts have left our health service more vulnerable than ever before in my opinion.

Operations are being cancelled, waiting lists are soaring and it is harder than ever to see a GP, with one in four people in the country waiting a week or more to see or speak to somebody, or not getting an appointment at all.

Only Labour will stand up for the NHS.

We will, if elected, give the NHS more than £30 billion of extra investment over the next parliament and we will invest an extra £8 billion to tackle the crisis in social care.