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NHS Winter Crisis

January 7, 2018 7:38 PM
By Matt Walker

Matt Walker - HDFT

More than 40 patients have been left waiting in ambulances outside A&E in the Harrogate and Knaresborough district since November.

41 patients in our area have faced waits of half-an-hour or more in ambulances outside A&E so far, this winter, Liberal Democrat investigations have revealed. In Christmas week alone, 15 people were stuck in ambulances for over half an hour outside A&E.

The hospital's own data also show that local hospitals are suffering from dangerously high bed occupancy rates. Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has been 95% full for 8 of 42 days so far, this winter, well in excess of the recommended maximum level of 85% bed occupancy required to protect patient safety.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a penny on income tax for the NHS and care, which would raise £6bn a year, around £11m of which would go to NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG based on current allocations.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson Matt Walker commented:

"These figures show the NHS crisis in Harrogate & Knaresborough is worsening. Many elderly and frail patients are being left stuck in ambulances outside A&Es while across Yorkshire, our hospitals are suffering from a severe lack of beds, a result of serious and chronic underfunding. Every ambulance stuck outside an A&E department could well mean another patient is desperately waiting at home for emergency help.

Harrogate Hospital are doing an amazing job under unnecessarily difficult circumstances. Having managed Harrogate A&E department I know what a professional and dedicated team the hospital has. We are very lucky to have such a good hospital and excellent local health and social care services. I think I speak for us all when I say I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to patient care over the last year but in particularly over the last few weeks.

"Each day seems to bring yet more bad news about the state of the health service. The blame for this lies with years firmly at the government's door. Ministers refused to listen and to provide the funding that top NHS officials said was necessary and it is patients who are now paying the price.

"The Liberal Democrats will give the NHS and care the extra cash they desperately need by putting a penny on income tax, which would raise £11m a year for health services in Harrogate and Knaresborough alone."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Figures are based on NHS winter pressure statistics for the 20th November to 31st December 2017 (link)