Fringe Box



248,196 on NHS Waiting Lists: ‘Ministers Letting Surrey Grind to a Halt’  Say Lib Dems

Published on: 9 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 9 Dec, 2023

NHS waiting times in England as a whole as at May this year Graphic BBC

By Martin Giles

There are 248,196 people waiting for NHS treatment in Surrey, according to research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.

They said the “terrifying” figures show ministers have let Surrey grind to a halt under the pressure of growing NHS backlogs.

The party has blamed the Conservative government for failing to prioritise the NHS in the recent Autumn Statement despite the huge economic impact of people unable to return to work because they are waiting for treatment.

Angela Richardson MP

Reacting to the criticism Guildford Conservative MP Angela Richardson agreed delays in receiving medical attention were too long. She said: “Cutting NHS waiting times in Surrey is rightly a top priority for voters, therefore, this is a top priority for the government and me.

‘The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on health services across Europe, but our record funding for the NHS will help us ensure residents are seen more quickly.

“To do this, we are supporting staff by delivering our historic Long-Term Workforce Plan, ensuring they are better-trained and supported. This year, we gave nurses a fair pay rise, equating to £5,000 more for band six staff over two years.”

Separate ONS figures show that a record high 2.6 million people are inactive across the country are out of work due to long-term sickness, up from two million in 2019.

RSCH wait times. To view full list click here.

Lib Dems have set out a plan to fix the crisis in NHS and care, including giving people a legal right to see their GP within seven days, increasing the Carer’s Minimum Wage to tackle soaring vacancies, and giving people a guarantee to begin cancer treatment within 62 days of being diagnosed.

Cllr Will Forster

Will Forster, leader of Surrey Lib Dems, said: “People in Surrey deserve an NHS that is there to look after them when they are in need. Instead, this Conservative government has run our local health services into the ground.

“It should not be too much to ask for people in Surrey to be able to get a GP appointment when they need one or get the treatment they deserve in time.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent investment in the NHS to bring down waiting lists as the health service prepares for yet another winter crisis under this Conservative government.

“The Prime Minister’s abject failure to bring down the NHS backlogs like he promised is having real consequences for our community. Far too many people are being made to suffer unnecessarily at the hands of the Conservative party’s incompetence.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak being interviewed.

When interviewed exclusively by The Dragon during his recent visit to the University of Surrey, Prime Minister  Rishi Sunak was asked about the time it takes to get a GP appointment in many parts of Guildford.

He responded: “I absolutely understand how important this is not least because my dad was a GP. My mum was a pharmacist. So I grew up understanding how important primary care is to people and what difference to their lives it makes. I’ve worked for my mom for a long time as well.”

He continued by saying that moving to more advanced telephone systems, facilitating patient access to medical records and getting more services from pharmacists were things the government was doing to help improve the situation.

And he concluded: “We already do have goals in place to make sure that everyone who needs to see a GP can see them as quickly as possible.”

In September 2022 the government announced a two-week wait target for GP appointments as part of “Our Plan for Patients”. The plan also included the three measures mentioned by the prime minister.

See: Exclusive – Prime Minister Says: ‘There’s a Clear Choice for Guildford Voters at Next Election.’

Anne Rouse, Guildford Labour chair

Anne Rouse of Guildford Labour said: “Where is the news in the Lib Dem press release?

“These waiting lists have been growing for years now due to lack of investment from the Tories.

“The only way to resolve these issues is to elect a Labour government who have pledged to improve GP access and bring back the family doctor. They will also join up community health and social care services and boost mental health support.

“Don’t waste your vote on any other party – Labour created the NHS and will always make sure it is there for everyone.”

But Angela Richardson said: ‘To clear the backlogs, the government has delivered 10,000 virtual ward beds across England to enable patients to recover at home and free up hospital beds. We are funding practices to help them embrace the latest technology, which will help patients contact their GP and make the 8am rush a thing of the past.

“Whilst the Liberal Democrats have put the finances of Guildford Borough Council at risk due to poor oversight and leadership, I am supporting a government which is delivering on the interests of patients.”

Share This Post

Responses to 248,196 on NHS Waiting Lists: ‘Ministers Letting Surrey Grind to a Halt’  Say Lib Dems

  1. Helen Avery Reply

    December 9, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    Interesting that orthopaedics are not on the published Royal Surrey County Hospital waiting lists.

    Having been on the waiting list for a hip replacement since December 2022, I am somewhat puzzled!

    Editor’s response: The full list can be seen by clicking on the link below the image. However having checked orthopaedics is not specifically included.

  2. Roger Kendall Reply

    December 9, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    One reason the GP system is not working very well is that the Labour government removed the requirement for GPs to work weekends. A disaster that has been difficult for more recent governments to rectify.

    The idea that Labour has any answers to the issues of the growing health needs of our aging population is a joke. The reason that many Conservatives are criticising their own government is because the opposition parties don’t. They are weak and lacking in any alternative ideas. Good opposition is essential for a democracy. By lying low and avoiding commenting on the issues of the day they may hope to avoid being seen for what they are.

    Fortunately, for the people of Surrey we have some great local hospitals that are well organised. My personal experience has been of kind, fast and knowledgeable care.

    • John Schluter Reply

      December 11, 2023 at 12:34 am

      Roger Kendall should have a good look at the graph. The workload wasn’t particularly severe the last time we had a Labour government.

      Still, I’m pleased that he has some great, local, well-organised hospitals. That will be immensely comforting to those on the waiting lists.

      • John Perkins Reply

        December 13, 2023 at 4:28 am

        The graph shows an unacceptable length for waiting lists in 2007 when the population was some 10% lower. It also clearly shows the effect of Covid, something no Labour government had to deal with.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *