There are currently some 6m people on waiting lists for NHS care.
This list will grow even more in the coming weeks and will include cancer, cardiac, orthopaedic and respiratory patients, many of whom will have seen appointments for consultations, diagnosis and treatment cancelled many times.
According to Cancer Research UK, more than 2.4m people in the UK have been left waiting for cancer screening, further tests or cancer treatment due to Covid-19. The overall waiting list is now around 6m.
It is time to reflect on the six core values in the NHS Constitution, living by those values the NHS should ensure the best possible care for patients:
- Working together for patients.
- Respect and dignity.
- Commitment to quality of care.
- Improving lives.
- Everyone counts.
Those being denied access to treatments could view this constitution applying only if you have Covid.
'Everyone' certainly does not count anymore.
Respect and dignity went out the window with the treatment of the elderly along with compassion. Lives are being made worse not better, and, many actually getting Covid in hospital when they eventually got admitted for care, Covid-free.
Even the lawyers are lining up. One firm I met this week fired this warning shot: “We believe everyone has the right to access healthcare when they need it. According to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the government has a systemic duty to have a properly functioning healthcare framework in place to protect patients’ lives”.
A clear national plan is needed urgently to support the effective recovery and restoration of NHS pathways to diagnosis, treatment and after care, ideally before the ambulance chasers run out of ambulances to chase.
The last 12 months have been interesting times for those on the lists. I was one of those, needing two operations to deal with hip replacement and atrial fibrillation.
Neither condition, in my case, could result in an NHS consultant initial appointment for months and for anyone who has had similar issues, they will understand delays will only see worse pain or in the case of AF a stroke, even death.
I was fortunate, my medical insurance could create a solution and more importantly I can still afford to pay the eye watering premiums that age brings. Others are not so fortunate.
With the seemingly continuous mantra that we should be protecting the NHS instead of it protecting you and I, surely now is the time to have rethink about how the NHS serves us and more importantly how those in a position to pay can help support the NHS by taking away some of the burden.
Latest data shows that UK hospitals have cancelled at least 13,000 operations over the last two months as they struggle to cope with record demand for NHS care and people sick with Covid-19.