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Paul Sankey: NHS waiting lists on the rise

The number of patients waiting more than the maximum 18 weeks for NHS treatment has risen by almost half over the last year according to figures released by the Department of Health. Many more patients are being kept waiting more than 4 hours in Accident and Emergency Departments.
It seems therefore that the government has not kept its pledge to maintain frontline services in the face of cuts and that patients are suffering as a result.
Of course waiting lists are not everything. There are cases where staff are distracted by the importantance of ticking boxes that a patient has been triaged within 15 minutes of arrival or seen by someone (even if not an appropriate specialist) within 4 hours. Targeting the wrong priority – to tick a box – they have missed the real problem. I act for instance for people whose fractures have been missed in Emergency Departments. In one very sad case, the doctor missed the fact that a woman was suffering from a surgical emergency – an aortic aneurysm - which needed urgent life-saving surgery. She was discharged at 4am and died at 7.30pm from a rupture of the main blood vessel in her abdomen.
So whilst waiting lists are not everything the lengthening queues are a sign that all is not well in the NHS. They show that you cannot make £20bn of savings without patients suffering.Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.