A recent announcement of NHS figures revealing their failures to meet patients’ needs this year have caused quite an uproar across the country, as well as upset amongst taxpayers. In the three months of April, May and June, it has been revealed that, owing to a series of problems, such as insufficient numbers of beds, lack of staff and unreliable, faulty medical equipment, the NHS has cancelled in excess of 15,000 operations at the last minute, leaving desperate patients stuck and in the dark. The reputation of Britain’s healthcare provider is already on rocky ground, and this revelation is another addition to a long list of issues, causing users to lose faith in the service. Though most of these appointments were rescheduled, the average wait for a new appointment was a month, with some patients having to wait even longer. For many, this was in addition to an already long wait on the already overflowing NHS waiting list.
This shocking service and postponing of important ops has had a whole host of negative and dangerous implications for NHS patients, not least on a medical level. For many patients who have been anticipating their appointment date for some time already, it has also triggered much anxiety and added to the already stressful experience of having, and preparing for, the operation. It is the highest number of last minute cancellations on record since 2005, and though the Department of Health has attempted to defend the NHS and reassure the public, stating that “the NHS is responding to significantly increased demand by performing more than half a million more operations now than in the same period eight years ago,” and that the large figures actually only account for 0.8% of total operations, it is nonetheless damning and paints a rather uncertain picture of the future of the company.
As over 3.2 million people and counting join the NHS waiting lists, some having to wait over a year for an operation, figures point to an urgent need for funding and improvement of the NHS overall, including new staff, new hospitals, extra beds and better equipment, as well as a reconsideration of the waiting list system.