One in seven patients wait longer than six months for operations
One in seven patients wait longer than six months for operations

One in seven patients wait longer than six months to be admitted to hospital for operations as critics warned that the Coalition is losing control of NHS waiting times
An extra 150000 patients have been caught up in increased delays since the Coalition came to power according to a patient survey
Patients also complained in larger numbers about the quality of hospital food and the lack of help with eating for those who need it They also told the Care Quality Commission that there were too few nurses on the wards
It comes as anohther survey by the union Unison found that three out of four members working in the NHS did not believe they had an adequate amount of time to spend with patients to deliver dignified safe compassionate care
Almost nine in ten said they supported legislation to set minimum nurse topatient ratios as a means to improving patient care
The NHS is attempting to find 20bn of efficiency savingsThe Coalition has come under pressure over the NHSs performance as a series of statistics have shown waiting times have crept up as targets have been relaxed
David Cameron scrapped Labours target of 18 weeks between a GP referral and hospital admission but the Prime Minister pledged to keep waiting times low
Last week official figures showed the number of people waiting longer than 18 weeks had increased by a quarter since the Coalition came to power while the Patients Association warned of a rise in average waits for common operations such as knee replacement hernia repair and removal of gallstones
The Department of Health pointed out official figures show that patients facing long waits were at a record low
Now the Care Quality Commission inpatient survey has found the number of patients reporting that they had waited more than six months to be admitted increased from 12 per cent in 2010 to 14 per cent in 2011
A quarter of those who responded to the survey felt they should have been admitted sooner
The survey is conducted every year in hospitals in England with around 70000 patients responding annually Patients reported seeing doctors and nurses washing their hands more often and fewer patients were made to stay in mixed sex accommodation
But the survey found the number of patients who said there was not always enough nurses on duty had increased up from 40 per cent to 42 per cent
And there was an increase in patients who need help eating but do not receive it from 36 per cent in 2010 to 38 per cent
Katherine Murphy Chief Executive of the Patients Association said We are encouraged by the small improvements being made in cleanliness and mixed sex accommodation
But they do not excuse the fact that patients are reporting that they are waiting longer to be treated and are not being given the help and support they need from ward staff
How can the Department of Health continue to claim that waiting times are stable when thousands of patients are saying they are waiting for longer to be seen Its not enough just to attack every report or survey that disagrees with you as inaccurate
The Department needs to be open transparent and respond to critical reports with robust action to tackle the problems
Dr Penny Woods Chief Executive of Picker Institute Europe said Patients appreciate the care they get from NHS staff but our survey shows that they are not always able to get the individual attention that they need
The reality is that the number of patients in NHS hospitals is increasing whilst the number of nurses available to care for them falling
Fewer nurses are being asked to take on more work and the inpatient survey shows how this impacts on patients experiences
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said This survey shows that patients are starting to pay the price for the Governments mismanagement of the health service Standards are clearly slipping backwards and the NHS is heading in the wrong direction
Department of Health official figures showed that 97 per cent of patients had waited less than 26 weeks for treatment from the point of referral in February this year
Health Minister Simon Burns said It is disappointing that more patients felt that they had waited more than six months for admission In fact latest figures show there are fewer patients than ever waiting a long time for treatment in the NHS
The NHS is keeping average waiting times low and stable at just 87 weeks for inpatients in February 2012 The number of people waiting over a year for treatment has reduced by two thirds since May 2010 and the average time patients have to wait for treatment is at the same level as two years ago over four years

Date : 25 Apr, 2012
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