Longest ever operation ban enforced across West Kent as ‘long waiting’ times double amid overcrowded wards, growing safety concerns, and threats to cut back A&E services, with the worst waiting times in January for the past 13 years.
The West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is so short of funding it has imposed the longest operation ban in health service history, affecting many residents and patients across Sevenoaks and Swanley.
The CCG has had to enforce an operation ban for non-urgent surgery for up to 102 days. This will affect over 1,700 patients in a move to try and save over £3 million until the new financial year starts in April.
The move imposes a ban on patients undergoing surgery to relieve pain, immobility, disability and other problems, which doctors have called unfair and damaging.
The announcement was followed by the revelation that ‘long waiting’ times of at least 18 weeks for operations have more than doubled over the past four years.
President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Clare Marx, emphasised that this unprecedented ban in Kent is the longest in the history of the NHS, whilst stating it could worsen the health of many patients.
Norman Lamb, the former Liberal Democrat Health minister, has responded to the embargo:
“There is a major crisis in funding. Patients who are in severe pain should not have to wait for a new financial year to have an operation. This is not what our NHS is about.”
“This is the longest ban in NHS history on patients undergoing surgery to relieve pain. The Liberal Democrats will be straight with the British public. We should consider raising taxes to give the public the NHS and care services they are right to expect.”
This comes just a few weeks after former leader of the Swanley Town Council and Lib Dem White Oak by-election candidate Robert Woodbridge spoke out about the funding crisis the NHS was encountering after a family member had a suspected stroke.
Robert praised the work and heroism of individual NHS staff who were on hand, but spoke out against the utter chaos that ensued. Due to insufficient staff in A&E, ambulances were forced to remain at Darent Valley hospital with patients inside whilst his wife Theresa was left in a hospital corridor.
Robert’s wife was re-admitted to Darent Valley this weekend after a further emergency. “There were no beds or cubicles available even if we needed one. There were patients waiting in A&E with drips who were stretched across chairs,” he reported.
NHS figures show nine out of 10 hospitals across the country were ‘overcrowded’ this winter. This dire situation simply can’t go on.
Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman for Sevenoaks and Swanley, Dr Alan Bullion, said:
“Sick people in need of treatment should not be turned away from our local hospitals. This shows a complete betrayal of our NHS services by Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and their Conservative government.”
“We cannot wait any longer for the falsely promised funding from the side of a ‘Vote Leave’ Brexit bus, and need a national cross-party solution now.”
“Although I had excellent care at Pembury and Maidstone hospitals following a severe shingles attack a couple of years back, which saved my eyesight, I dread to think what would occur if it happened again now.”
“I am calling on the Prime Minister with other West Kent Lib Dem Parliamentary candidates to put an extra penny on income tax to urgently address the NHS funding crisis. We should not be reducing services but better funding them as people live longer and have more complex health needs throughout their lives.”
Tory health minister Jeremy Hunt has now admitted that the situation is “completely unacceptable” but there is no “silver bullet” or “easy answers.”
WHAT A TERRIBLE ADMISSION OF FAILURE!
The answers are for Hunt to resign and for May to find more urgent funding. And for more dedicated health taxation.
Photos of Janet Sargeant, who has experienced problems with delayed foot care at Orpington hospital; Robert Woodbridge, local Lib Dem candidate for Swanley White Oak ward on Thursday March 2; Dr Alan Bullion, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman, talking to local residents in Swanley Town Centre.