New figures published this week reveal 61,063 patients are now waiting for care at Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust – as a record-breaking 7,071,829 across England are now stuck on NHS waiting lists.
That is a rise of more than 50 per cent compared to two years ago, at the height of the pandemic.
In September 2021, 59,694 people were waiting for treatment, and in September 2020, the total was 39,336 – according to the Patient Experience library, which tracks national waiting lists.
The figures have drawn a predictably angry political response.
Paul Bell, Lewisham Labour’s cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “After 12 years of Conservative rule, the NHS is on its knees – and people in Lewisham are paying the price. The winter has not even begun, yet our health service is already deep in crisis.
“Labour has a fully funded plan to get our health service going again – by training the doctors and nurses we need to provide the care people in Lewisham deserve, but Rishi Sunak is too weak to take the action necessary to deliver real change.
“The truth is this Government has run out of ideas, and they are running our health service into the ground.
“The longer the Conservatives are in power, the longer people in Lewisham will wait for care.”
Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Millions of patients are waiting months and even years for treatment, often in serious pain and discomfort.
“In an emergency, patients are left waiting hours for an ambulance or entire days in A&E. For many this means being unable to work and putting their lives on hold.
“The NHS is now approaching winter with the longest waiting times in its history and record shortages of staff. NHS staff are slogging their guts out but there simply aren’t enough of them.”
Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust has been approached for a comment.
Pictured top: A hospital waiting room (Picture: Wikimedia Commons – Kolforn)