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The ambulance bay at Bristol Royal Infirmary [Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images].

As Jeremy Corbyn put it, “This is completely unacceptable.

“Growing pressure on our NHS means more people waiting longer in ambulances and A&E departments having to divert more patients to other hospitals.”

Of course it is entirely in line with the claim that the Tories are trying to make the health service look incompetent in order to make a profit-making, privatised health system seem more attractive.

The minority Tory government may say it isn’t planning to sell off the NHS, but the recent announcement that the UK is holding private trade talks with the USA is a red flag to everybody who ever cared about the health service.

Of course, the real losers in this situation are the service users.

Growing numbers of patients taken to hospital by ambulance are having to wait an hour or more before they are handed over to A&E staff for treatment, NHS England figures show.

In the week to last Sunday, 17 December, one in seven such patients faced a delay of at least 30 minutes in the back of an ambulance or an area of the hospital where the crew look after them, up from one in eight the week before.

Hospitals are finding it impossible to stick to tough rules brought in for this winter by NHS England and NHS Improvement requiring that no patient should have to wait more than 15 minutes.

In a further sign of the extra pressure the NHS is under this winter, the number of times A&E units had to temporarily divert patients elsewhere because they could not cope with the demand for care rose from 25 the previous week to 30.

Source: NHS figures show sharp rise in patients waiting for A&E care | Society | The Guardian


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