Rachel Hopkins MP responds to the latest NHS waiting list figures at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of November 2021, there were 66,189 people on the waiting list at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 2,331 people have been waiting for over a year for an appointment, and 115 people have been waiting for over 2 years.

In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Now, one in every nine people in England is on the NHS waiting list.

The Conservative government has no plan to deal with the chronic shortage of GPs, doctors, nurses, and social care staff and has not set clear targets to reduce waiting lists and waiting times. As a result, the NHS went into the latest wave of Covid infections with the longest waiting list ever.

Hospitals around the country are reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high-quality care. The Clinical Commissioning Group that oversees the Luton and Dunstable Hospital and Bedford Hospital recently warned that patients should expect longer waits for care as they faced ‘their toughest winter to date’.

Rachel Hopkins MP said: 

“People in Luton South are being forced to wait months and even years for treatment, often while suffering pain, discomfort, and anxiety.

Our dedicated local healthcare staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, but they are stretched like never before. This can’t be allowed to continue; staff and patients deserve better.

The government must urgently provide Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the support it needs to get through this winter and to get patients seen on time.”

Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“The NHS went into this wave of Covid infections with 6 million people on waiting lists for the first time ever. As a result of a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS was unprepared for the pandemic and didn’t have any spare capacity when Omicron hit.

“It’s not just that the Conservatives didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards. Now patients are paying the price, waiting months and even years for treatment, often in pain, distress and discomfort.

“Labour will secure the future of the NHS, starting by building the workforce it needs to deliver better care and shorter waiting times, just as the last Labour government did.”



Notes to Editors:

Latest wait times data: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/rtt-data-2021-22/

ONS population data: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/latest

Local media: Bedfordshire NHS A&E patients face long waits in ‘toughest winter to date’ warns CCG – Bedfordshire Live (ampproject.org)

Luton waiting lists at a ten-year high as health officials predict big pressure on NHS in months ahead | Luton Today

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