No credible plan to tackle NHS waiting times - reader letter

The coverage of waiting times for patients in Leeds makes dismal reading and is representative of the situation in many parts of the country.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:45 pm

In addition, if you live in a poor area, waiting times are much worse, with nearly twice the percentage of people waiting longer than a year compared with affluent areas.

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NHS staff in Leeds are working flat out and deserve our thanks; for them, Covid is far from over.

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Waiting times have spiralled as NHS services in the city come under pressure. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Unfortunately, the Government has no credible plan to tackle backlogs and instead has appointed a retired general to investigate NHS management.

The long history of drafting in outsiders from business or the military to sort out the NHS tells us this approach never works.

Sainsbury’s Roy Griffiths argued long-term care should be taken out of the NHS in the 1980s, means tested and privatised, leaving us with the chaotic system we have today, channelling tax payers’ money to overseas tax havens.

The recent inadequate settlement involving a hike in National Insurance penalises the low paid and will take £900m from NHS and care staff.

There are 100,000 vacancies; one in 10 psychiatrist and a third of consultant radiologist posts are unfilled.

Through lack of investment we have the worst provision of sophisticated scanners (essential for diagnosis) of the 28 wealthy OECD countries.

The proportion of managers to staff is four per cent in the NHS compared with nine per cent in both businesses and the military, while NHS productivity has been higher than industry in general.

The suggestion that the NHS is inefficient and over-managed is refuted by international comparisons.

It is time that the Government faced up to its responsibilities to provide good care for us all.

The forthcoming spending review must include a substantial increment for the NHS – and we still need a serious plan to transform social care.

Dr John Puntis, Leeds Keep Our NHS Public

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