THEre WILL be many reasons why the NHS experienced its busiest month on record in December – bad weather, and Christmas festivities, are seasonal factors which will have contributed to the unprecedented number of A&E attendances and ambulance call-outs.
However, as questions grow about the effectiveness of Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock who has now been in post for two years, two other issues – shortcomings in GP cover and social care provision – will have been significant factors.
And while The Yorkshire Post is the first to applaud NHS staff for their professionalism, and the fact that most emergency patients were still seen within the four-hour benchmark, the inaction of Mr Hancock is now rather troubling. Every set of statistics that he glibly dismisses is another wasted month when it comes to making sure that the NHS, and major hospitals, are better placed to meet the health needs of an ageing population.
It’s little surprise that A&E units are under so much pressure when patients in so many parts of the country are having to wait three weeks, or longer, to see their local GP, and that personal angst gets the better of the individuals concerned.
It is also self-explanatory that patients have to wait longer to be admitted to hospitals when beds are being occupied by elderly people who cannot be discharged until suitable social care is in place.
Mr Hancock, how long will it take before you, too, get this?