Nearly half a million patients waited more than 4 hours in A&E for treatment, referral or discharge in the last quarter of 2014, half as many again as in the previous quarter and the worst performance for over a decade.

In December 2014 there were 113,000 patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment, a 30% increase over the year before.

The cancer care waiting time target – within 62 days of referral from a GP – has now been missed for 3 consecutive quarters.

Delayed discharges from hospital rose sharply to more than 5,000 per day in November 2014, 20% more than the previous year.

Cuts to local authority adult social care of £4.6bn are behind this bed-blocking  as 400,000 fewer elderly people get home care than 5 years ago – a false economy if ever there was one.

So far the Tories have responded by patch-up.

Osborne was panicked before the election into promising £8bn without saying where the money would come from or when it might be provided (2020?).

Cameron demands 7-day hospital working without saying how it would be paid for.

The Stevens plan to achieve £22bn of savings to keep the NHS ticking over on current funds is pure chimera.

He announced last week quite sensibly that the way forward was prevention and better public health, only to discover that Osborne was imposing a £200m cut in public health to local authorities.

Hunt’s tactics of shifting the blame on to NHS staff, sending in the CQC for ever tougher inspections, and sacking chief executives while still continuing to spend 2-3% less of GDP on health than all our main EU counterparts are a counsel of despair, if not panic.

Source: The NHS may yet sink the Tories | Michael Meacher

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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