The Prime Minister remains rightly focused on cutting waiting lists, ensuring that people can get the care they need more quickly. While there have been challenges recently, good progress has been made so far this year in reducing waiting times for both elective and urgent and emergency care.
Just last week, the NHS achieved the ambition of establishing 10,000 virtual ward beds ahead of this winter through the UEC Recovery Plan which represents a huge leap forward in the way patients are treated. We have already seen how hospitals such as the Horton are embracing the latest technology, for example with the new Surgicube Ophthalmology Unit at the Ramsey Centre which is helping to bring down NHS waiting lists and improve patient care.
We know that industrial action continues to impact hospital capacity and services, including discharge and routine care. However, from my regular conversations with representatives of OUHFT and recent visits to the Horton, I am assured that hospital staff remain committed to making progress on the things they know matter to patients.
Encouragingly, NHS England have reported this month that elective and cancer treatment activity was 10% higher in August than the same month pre-COVID. The number of key diagnostic tests was also 16% higher in comparison to August 2019 – the equivalent of an additional 10,000 tests every single day.
Although our ambulance services faced challenges over the summer, September set records for both A&E attendances and Category 1 ambulance calls. Admissions were also up significantly compared with the same month last year but despite this, category 2 response times were 10 minutes better.
We have faced obstacles along the way, but our plan does seem to be working.