Ilford North MP demands action as NHS waiting lists top 52,000

Wes Streeting MP, Ilford North.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting saw first hand how stretched the NHS is when undergoing cancer treatment earlier this year. - Credit: Archant

More than 52,000 people are waiting for treatment at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) hospitals, according to the latest NHS figures.

The situation has prompted MP Wes Streeting - whose Ilford North constituents rely on Goodmayes' King George Hospital - to demand action.

“The government needs to come up with a plan to staff and support the NHS to ensure patients aren’t waiting months for treatment," the MP told the Recorder.

This news comes following last month's revelation that patients requiring emergency care at BHRUT hospitals face among the longest waits in the capital.

Staffing is considered a significant part of the problem, something Mr Streeting saw with his own eyes during his recent treatment.

“The doctors, nurses and other staff in our local hospitals are doing amazing work – I owe them my life. But it was clear to me when I was being treated for cancer earlier this year that NHS staff are under huge strain."

Estimates indicate that the NHS is short of 100,000 staff nationally, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses.

In light of this, the MP questions why last month's Autumn budget did not include plans for a recruitment drive.

Nationally, the standard of 92 per cent of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. 

This target has only been made harder by the impact of Covid-19, and at BHRUT hospitals, more than 1,000 people have been waiting over a year for an appointment.

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The consequences of this are potentially fatal, warned Mr Streeting: "If people can’t get the timely care they need, the consequences can be devastating.

"More serious conditions, like cancer, are often found during routine treatments. The situation now is really concerning."