13 February 2023 – yesterday’s press releases

A technology glitch means that I’m a little further behind than expected. Normal service will resume shortly…

  • Revealed: 12-hour A&E waits quadrupled in most areas of England last year
  • Sewage: Lib Dems bid to block bill which removes clean water regulation
  • Revealed: GP postcode lottery as number of registered patients soars

Revealed: 12-hour A&E waits quadrupled in most areas of England last year

Four in five areas in England saw the number of 12-hour waits at A&E quadruple last year, shocking new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures reveal a devastating rise in long delays to be admitted to hospital from A&E right across the country.

In the worst-hit areas, almost one in four patients waited 12 hours or more to be admitted to hospital from A&E.

Previous research has highlighted how long waits to be admitted to hospital at A&E can have devastating consequences including the risks of a patient dying or becoming seriously unwell.

A shocking 91 of 113 NHS hospital trusts in England saw the number of patients waiting over 12 hours more than quadruple in 2022 compared to the previous year. Only four of the trusts saw the number of 12-hour waits fall. The figures are based on data on A&E waiting times from NHS England, which were compiled by the House of Commons Library.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust was the worst in the country with over 24% of patients waiting at least 12 hours at A&E to be admitted to hospital in 2022. This was followed by North Middlesex where 23% faced waits of 12 hours or more, up ninefold on the previous year. Other hospital trusts with the highest number of patients waiting 12 hours or more include Royal Cornwall (21%), East Cheshire (21%) and Croydon (21%).

Overall, 36 trusts saw at least 10% of patients waiting over 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022. This compares to not a single trust seeing more than 10% of patients waiting that long the previous year.

The Lib Dems have slammed the government for allowing the “devastating delays”, and called for an urgent plan to tackle staff shortages. The party is calling for a ‘Carer’s Minimum Wage,’ £2 above the minimum wage, to tackle shortages in the social care sector that are contributing to overcrowded hospitals and record delays at A&E.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:

These devastating delays are leaving far too many patients waiting in pain and in fear for the treatment they deserve.

For years the Conservatives have ignored repeated warnings about the pressures facing the NHS and care, allowing the situation to go from bad to worse. This crisis means far too many people are now terrified of getting sick or injured because they don’t know if the NHS will be there when they need it.

The government needs to come up with a proper plan to tackle chronic staff shortages, instead of allowing our health and care services to lurch from crisis to crisis. That must start with recruiting more GPs and social care workers, so people can be cared for at home where needed instead of being stranded in hospital.

Sewage: Lib Dems bid to block bill which removes clean water regulation

The Liberal Democrats are fighting to save regulations that protect both swimmers and wildlife from sewage and other water pollution.

The Bathing Water Regulations and Water Framework Directive are both at risk of being scrapped under the Government’s new Retained EU Law Bill, which aims to remove hundreds of pieces of legislation from UK law.

Liberal Democrat Peers have tabled amendments to the Bill to ensure these two regulations are immune from being discarded.

This means that Government Ministers will be forced to treat these regulations separately, with a new debate about whether they should be retained later this month before the remainder of the Bill can be discussed – holding up proceedings to ensure that rivers, lakes and our coast lines are protected.

Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Bakewell, who tabled the amendments, said:

The Conservative Government’s decision to scrap these regulations will create a ‘Sewage Dumpers’ Charter’.

This is short-sighted politics at its worst, putting political posturing above the well-being of our rivers, lakes and swimmers.

Risking these regulations is reckless and irresponsible. Liberal Democrats will fight to stop Ministers from casting aside the health of our people and the future of our wildlife with a single, irresponsible stroke.

Revealed: GP postcode lottery as number of registered patients soars

  • Areas with highest number of patients per GP revealed in “stark postcode lottery.”
  • Registered patients up by over 4 million while GP numbers down by 1,946 since 2016
  • Steve Barclay and Maria Caulfield’s own local health districts see a 20% rise in patients per GP since 2016.

Some areas in England now have almost 3,000 registered patients for every fully qualified GP, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The stark postcode lottery was uncovered through the House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.

Across the country, the number of registered patients at GP practices has increased by 7 per cent to 62 million since 2016, an increase of over 4 million. Meanwhile the number of fully qualified GPs has fallen by 7 per cent to 27,375 over the same period, a fall of 1,946. It means that across England there are now 2,273 patients per fully qualified GP, up from 1,981 in 2016.

The Liberal Democrats said the rising number of patients and fall in fully trained GPs was creating “a perfect storm” that has led to many people finding it almost impossible to book an appointment.

Blackburn with Darwen now has 2,915 registered patients per fully qualified GP, more than anywhere else in the country and up 25% since 2016. This is followed by Portsmouth (2,821), Hull (2,805) and Oldham (2,805).

Even the constituencies of Health Ministers have seen sharp rises. In the Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s own backyard of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, there are 2,336 registered patients per qualified GP, up 20% compared to six years ago. Meanwhile, in Health Minister Maria Caulfield’s Lewes seat, the number of registered patients per GP shot up by 21% to 2,404 compared to six years ago.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for 8,000 new GPs to be recruited to enable all patients to be given a legal right to see a GP within seven days, or within 24 hours if in urgent need. This would be achieved by recruiting an extra 8,000 GPs, through increasing training places, fixing NHS pension rules and launching a campaign to encourage retired doctors to return to practice.

Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

Communities across the country are seeing ever falling numbers of GPs treating ever growing numbers of patients, in a stark postcode lottery. It is creating a perfect storm that means for many people, it feels almost impossible to see your GP when you need to.

This ever-worsening GP shortage is having a terrible human cost, as people face delayed or missed diagnoses and A&Es fill up with desperate patients looking for treatment.

People are fed up with this government failing to deliver on the basics as local health services are driven into the ground.

The Liberal Democrats would finally recruit the extra GPs this country needs, in order to deliver a guarantee that everyone can get a GP appointment within a week or within 24 hours if in urgent need.

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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.


  • Nothing new in any of this and it didn’t just happen after 2015.

    I was a Council Cabinet member for Social Care (Lib Dem) when the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 and well remember the fight for funding which ensued. I also remember the Kings Fund Report in May 2015 on the state of Social Care after five years of that Government. I still have it, and to quote the Report on 2010-15 :
    ” In summary, since 2009/10:

    1. Local authority spending on social care for older people fell in real terms by 17 per cent; over the same period, the number of older people aged 85 and over rose by almost 9 per cent.

    2. It has become much more difficult for people to get publicly funded social care ; numbers have fallen by 25 per cent since 2009 (from 1.7 million to 1.3 million) and in 90 per cent of local authorities only those with ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ needs will get publicly funded services”.

    Sorry, but the Lib Dem proposed “Carer’s Minimum Wage,’ £2 above the minimum wage to tackle shortages in the social care sector is inadequate when compared with what can be earned in much less demanding circumstances elsewhere. It might just with Asda (the poorest payer), but not with the other major super markets. Too little, too late I’m afraid.

  • The water companies lobbied to prevent government forcing them to deal with the sewage overflow problem. Their reasoning was that it would be expensive, and customers would not want to pay for it. The environmental case, both for us and for wildlife, is overwhelming, and a dumper’s charter is exactly what the British public don’t want. We need to keep letting everyone in the legislative process know we are grown-ups : if something is vitally important it has to be done, even if it is going to put up the cost of our water bills. Having water company Executives think they are speaking on our behalf is not how it is supposed to work in a democracy.

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