Tory well being boss Victoria Atkins confronted by affected person ready years for again op
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has apologised to a affected person ready for a again operation who stated she “can’t go on much longer like this”.
Ms Atkins was confronted by a video message from Lynn on the BBC’s ‘Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg’ programme, as she battled to defend the Government’s efforts to curb spiralling NHS ready lists.
Lynn instructed the highest Tory: “I have been on the waiting list for back surgery and have been for over a year. I’ve been told the waiting list is years and I’m not likely to get the surgery any time soon.
“I’m restricted as to what I can do and I can not go on for much longer like this. What are you going to do in regards to the NHS ready listing?”
Ms Atkins, who was appointed in Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle, stated: “First of all, I’m so very sorry that she is suffering in pain like that. I want to help Lynn and everybody else in the country that is facing these waiting lists.
“This is why, in equity, the Prime Minister has made the ready listing one in all his priorities.” Presenter Laura Kuenssberg interjected to point out that waiting lists have risen since Mr Sunak made that commitment, despite more money and more staff.
There were a record 7.77 million waits for non-emergency care at the end of September, according to data from NHS England. The figure rose from 7.75 million in August.
Analysis by NHS England found that around one million people are waiting for more than one treatment, many of whom will be elderly patients waiting for things like hip and knee replacements.
Ms Atkins sought to heap blame on industrial action in the NHS for the long waits, despite her predecessor Steve Barclay’s refusal to meet striking consultants. An end to the bitter pay dispute is now in sight after a deal was struck that will now go to members.
The new Health Secretary said she had a “actually constructive” relationship with consultants and said she was keen to resolve the row with junior doctors, who are still in dispute with the Government.
The presenter also raised the case of Denise, in Suffolk, who turned to private healthcare as she was in too much pain to wait. “She took a financial institution mortgage and crowdfunded a brand new hip.
“She now worries she needs the other hip done but would have to sell her house to do that. Is that acceptable?”
Ms Atkins stated: “Of course not, and this is why the PM has focused on waiting lists as I say and we are trying to get those down. We are making some progress, we have seen some of the longest waits virtually eliminated. But there is no easy answer to this.”
Pressed on whether or not the Government would hit its targets earlier than the election, she stated: “We are looking to meet those targets but I need the consultants to pass this settlement we have put forward. I hope very much that doctors in training will be able to reach a settlement with us as well.
“If we have eliminated the specter of industrial from the NHS, then these individuals who, for instance in October set of actions, we’ve got 40,000 appointments being rescheduled every day. Then that stops and we’re in a position to get on with the enterprise of taking care of individuals.”
Ms Atkins also admitted to using private healthcare once in the past to get a second opinion. She added: “I’ve use the NHS my total life. I used to be identified with Type 1 diabetes on the NHS and it has supported me yearly of my life since.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney accused the Government of “flying blind” into a fresh NHS winter crisis. She said: “This Conservative Government has already damaged its promise on recruiting new GPs, now it appears probably that the promise to chop ready lists can even be damaged.
“Atkins couldn’t provide any reassurance for patients stuck waiting for surgery and treatment. With no extra money for the NHS during the Autumn Statement, we’re flying blind into another winter crisis and Atkins wouldn’t even deny it.”