Patients are repeatedly being let down by a Government which has spent nine years under-funding the NHS, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.
A&E waiting times are now at their worst level since records began and I believe this is a damning indictment of years of austerity and wider cuts imposed upon health and care services by this Government.
During January, only 84.4 per cent of patients were treated or admitted in four hours, well below the 95 per cent target.
The Government’s mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 has already confirmed that flagship waiting times targets for planned and emergency care have been abandoned for another year.
The mandate issues no objective for the 18-week referral to treatment target, nor the four-hour A&E target to be met during the year.
The NHS Long-Term Plan includes welcome ambitions to improve care for patients over the next ten years.
However, it contains no credible plan to restore the statutory standards of care that patients are entitled to.
Despite the brilliant efforts of NHS staff, years of pay restraint and a failure to invest in the workforce has resulted in more than 100,000 staff vacancies.
Ministers promised a long-term workforce plan, but they have failed to set out how they intend to recruit the additional staff the NHS so desperately needs.
At the last election, Labour’s manifesto committed to full fund the NHS and secure sustainable future funding for social care.
It also offered a long-term workforce plan to give staff the support they need and secured the standards of service patients are entitled.