As the government warned that NHS waiting lists will not start to fall for two years, latest figures reveal that at the end of December 2021, there were 53,253 people on the waiting list at the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and 37,264 on the waiting list at the North Bristol NHS Trust. Worryingly 5,740 people have already been waiting for more than a year for an appointment.

While Covid has pushed the NHS like never before, on the eve of the outbreak of the pandemic, there were already record high numbers of people on the NHS waiting list in England – a high of 4.4 million patients. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.

Commenting, Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “People in Bristol and across the West of England are being forced to wait months for treatment, often in pain and discomfort. “Our amazing local doctors, nurses and other health care staff have worked heroically throughout the pandemic, and continue to do so, but they are being stretched like never before. The NHS went into the latest wave of Covid infections with the longest waiting list ever, understaffed and overstretched. It is clear that the longer we give the Tories, the longer patients will wait.”

The Metro Mayor who has responsibility for jobs, training and skills continued: “Our NHS is understaffed, and staff are overworked – from all my conversations with NHS workers I am concerned that without radical action and investment we will lose more people than we are able to recruit which would be a further blow to patients.”

Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: “Record numbers of people are waiting for care and they are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and distress.“After a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS went into the pandemic with record waiting lists and staff shortages of 100,000. It’s not just that the Tories didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards.“The Conservatives are so incompetent they’ve come up with a plan that sees patients paying more in tax but waiting longer for care.“The last Labour government of which Dan Norris was a member reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks. The next Labour government will secure the future of our NHS, providing the staff it needs to treat patients on time.”

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