Liberal Democrats expose the impact of long GP and hospital waits on mental health

  • Around 12.5 million Brits’ mental health negatively affected by waiting too long for a GP or hospital appointment
  • Almost one in five (18%) say their physical health has been impacted by long GP or hospital waits, rising to 22% among over 65s
  • Lib Dems warn that NHS delays are causing a “mental health epidemic” and call for rescue plan in the Budget so people can access the care they need

One in four (24%) UK adults say their mental health has been negatively affected in the past month by waiting too long for a GP or hospital appointment, a survey by the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

This is equivalent to a staggering 12.5 million Brits whose mental health has been impacted by long GP and hospital waits.

The Liberal Democrats said it showed the government’s neglect of the NHS was creating a “mental health epidemic” as millions wait anxiously for the care they need. The party is calling on the Chancellor to cancel planned real-terms cuts to NHS spending in the Budget to tackle the health crisis.

The survey also found that 18% of people say their physical health has been negatively affected by waiting too long for a GP or hospital appointment, equivalent to 9.4 million people. This rises to 22% of over 65s whose physical health has been impacted by long GP and hospital waits.

One in three who had tried to book a GP appointment in the past month said it was either difficult or very difficult to do so.

The latest NHS figures show there were 7.6 million on waiting lists for hospital treatment, up from 7.19 million when Rishi Sunak outlined his pledge to reduce them last year.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

This Conservative government’s failure to tackle agonising waits for NHS treatment is creating a mental health epidemic.

Millions of people are struggling to see their GP or waiting months for hospital treatment because ministers have driven local health services into the ground.

People are being left worried sick because they and their loved ones simply can’t access the healthcare they so desperately need.

It is simply unthinkable that Rishi Sunak is now cutting NHS funding, leaving hospitals and GP services even more stretched. It just shows he and this Conservative government are totally out of touch and need to be kicked out of office.

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  • Steve Trevethan 5th Feb '24 - 12:37pm

    Might one root problem be austerity which is a practical application of neoliberalism?

    Might another root problem be the « Reality Blindness » of those imposing and supporting neoliberal austerity-for-the-many who will not/cannot see the actual harm to society that neoliberalism does?

    If you have not yet read « Late Soviet Britain » by Abby Innes, which explains the flawed philosophy causing our present real life problems, you might find it illuminating.

    Might neoliberalism be like a farmer who saves money by severely under feeding his stock and is, or feigns, surprise when they fall ill and start dying?

  • Trouble is that the (neoliberal) believers will just say either the farmer didn’t do it right or the animals were just lazy.
    Neoliberalism, yet another economic belief system based on faulty data analysis and thus line of reasoning…

  • @ Steve Trevethan “Might one root problem be austerity which is a practical application of neoliberalism ?”

    The trouble with austerity, Steve, is that those who have a bit get a bit more, and those who haven’t get a bit less.

  • Peter Martin 5th Feb '24 - 3:50pm

    “Might one root problem be austerity which is a practical application of neoliberalism”

    There’s a fair bit on nonsense talked about neoliberalism and austerity.

    Austerity is a description of a fiscal squeeze. It can involve a mixture of tax rises and spending cuts, or just be one or the other. It doesn’t necessary mean we all end up having to follow what might be called an austere lifestyle. But, naturally, the ones who already don’t have much to start with will suffer the most.

    It’s essentially a counter-inflation policy and may sometimes be necessary if inflation is getting to be above a tolerable level. The mistake made by the neoliberals is to treat it as a policy for reducing the government’s deficit. It can’t be relied upon to do that. Reducing govt spending also reduces the govt’s revenue. Increasing taxation slows the economy which in turn reduces revenue.

    It does, of course, reduce inflation which is why both UK and eurozone inflation were very low prior to the Covid pandemic. Incidentally, if we thought the UK govt was bad the EU was even worse. When the fiscal brakes were loosened during the epidemic, inflation started to rise again. Although there were other supply factors too which were just as significant.

    The neolibs don’t seem to learn though. They consider it was all due to interest rates being too low which somehow affects the money supply.

    They might get it right eventually!

  • Steve Trevethan 6th Feb '24 - 10:12am

    Neoliberalism: “The policies of neoliberalism typically support fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, privatization, and a reduction in government spending. There are many criticisms of neoliberalism, including its potential danger to democracy, workers’ rights and sovereign nations’ right to self-determination. It’s also been accused of giving corporations too much power and worsening economic inequality.” [Investopedia]

    Austerity: “a difficult economic situation caused by a government reducing the amount of money it spends/ the condition of living without unnecessary things and without comfort, with limited money or goods, or a practice, habit or experience that is typical of this” [Cambridge Dictionary]

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