NHS Treatment Waiting Times

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Labour, Leeds East

What steps her Department is taking to reduce waiting times for NHS treatment.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Happy St George’s day, Mr Speaker.

Cutting waiting lists is one of the Prime Minister’s top priorities. We are spending more than £8 billion on additional elective activity and investing in additional capacity including community diagnostics centres, one such centre being in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency. Since September 2023 overall waiting lists have fallen by almost 200,000—the biggest five-month fall in over 10 years, outside of the pandemic.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Labour, Leeds East

NHS waiting lists have risen threefold since the Tories came to power, and the Prime Minister’s pledge to cut waiting lists is in tatters. Rather than taking responsibility, the Tories first blamed NHS staff who were trying to get better pay, and now they have opened up a new round of media attacks on the sick and the disabled. Why do not the Government instead go after the tax dodgers, as Labour plans to do, to raise funds and help resolve the crisis in our NHS?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Once again the hon. Gentleman does not condemn the strikes. I would gently say that while we are getting waiting lists down in England, Welsh Labour has the longest hospital waits in Great Britain, putting patients at risk because it does not have a plan to clear the backlog. In December 2023 the Welsh Labour Government had the highest number of patients in Great Britain waiting over two years for treatments. It is an outrage; yet that is the blueprint for what the Labour party says it will implement here in England.

Photo of Simon Fell Simon Fell Conservative, Barrow and Furness

I see increasing numbers of women coming to my constituency surgeries about chronic urinary tract infections, not for themselves but for their daughters. Unfortunately there seems to be no treatment pathway for chronic UTIs among girls. Does my right hon. Friend have any thoughts about that, and would he agree to meet me to discuss the issue further?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss the issue.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Happy St George’s day, Mr Speaker.

Westminster is awash with rumours that the Prime Minister will call a July general election, presumably to avoid giving his Rwanda gimmick the time to fail. I have a very simple question for the Minister: will he repeat the pledge that the Prime Minister made last year and promise that NHS waiting lists will be lower at the time of the general election than when the Prime Minister came to office?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Prime Minister has been very clear that getting waiting lists down is one of his top priorities, but he has also been clear that performance has been disappointing. One reason is that 1.4 million procedures have had to be rescheduled because of industrial action. I would gently ask the shadow Secretary of State whether he condemns those strikes.