Wes Streeting praises staff; condems government
Waiting times at Derriford Hospital have have been slammed by the shadow health secretary after he saw the challenges first hand.
Philip Churm, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk
Wes Streeting met patients and staff at the hospital alongside Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Moor View Gareth Derrick.
It comes as figures show over 46,000 people waiting for treatment at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, with 41 percent of them on the list for more than 18 weeks.
Ambulance waiting times were also criticised as official figures show patients using South Western Ambulances face among the longest delays in the country.
Response times for category 2 patients, including heart attacks and strokes, typically take more than an hour, compared to target times of just 18 minutes.
Wes Streeting said: “Despite the huge efforts of the dedicated staff and management at Derriford Hospital, I saw first-hand the patients waiting in ambulances, the queues outside A&E and the desperately sad sight of patients on trolleys in a corridor.
“This isn’t unique to Derriford; we’re seeing this right across the country as a direct result of Conservative mismanagement of the NHS.”
Gareth Derrick added: “We met the chief executive and senior clinical staff at Derriford and can only be impressed by their spirit and determination to improve the care they provide to patients.
“But the improvements needed can only come from political commitment and that is sorely lacking under the Conservative government.”
However, Tories have pledged to increase the NHS budget by £34 billion by 2023-24 which they say is the biggest cash boost in its history.
The money includes providing £850 million for 20 hospital upgrades and £2.7 billion for six new hospitals.
But the favourite to win the Tory leadership competition, Liz Truss, was criticised recently for pledging to divert billions of pounds earmarked for the NHS into social care.
In 2009, Ms Truss co-authored a report calling for patients to be charged for GP appointments and doctors’ pay to be cut by 10 per cent. Truss’s leadership campaign team insisted “co-authoring a document does not mean that someone supports every proposal put forward.”
Last month Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard visited Derriford Hospital with shadow minister for mental health and Labour MP for Tooting, Rosena Allin-Khan.
Mr Pollard spoke of the need for “bigger thinking” by the government to address pressures on the NHS and to find an alternative to current GP-led system of healthcare.