NHS waiting lists are growing

NHS waiting lists are growing   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Holly Donovan, Northampton Socialist Party

In desperate need of urgent spinal surgery, I am forced to be a patient patient. Due to the long waiting list, I am left bedbound whilst in immense pain.

As I write, broken metalwork is slowly but surely ripping through my back. The creeping horror of knowing that my fate is set, that I will become more paralysed with each passing day, is palpable. Though my case may be unique, sadly it is not singular.

Recently a friend with a painful hernia was advised by a doctor at A&E to “go to the gym, lift something heavy and make it worse”. With the waiting list at my friend’s local hospital so long, the only way prompt treatment could be given was if he hurt himself enough to need emergency surgery.

In October, the waiting list for ‘non-urgent’ hospital treatment, such as hip replacement surgery, rose to 5,975,216. Nearly six million people suffering, stuck in limbo.

All those people in pain, powerless, forced to wait. Even the Tories’ plan to deal with the backlog expects waiting lists to rise for another two years.

Capitalist politicians argue that Covid is to blame. But this is not the case.

Despite the immense legitimate pressures that the pandemic has brought, this crisis has been decades in the making, caused by the purposeful failure to fully finance the NHS by successive Tory and Labour governments.

Decades of constant underinvestment have created ideal conditions to push those who are desperate enough to turn to private treatment to skip the queue. If I were able to pay, I could have my surgery at the same hospital, with the same consultant, within the week.

This needless suffering of the population is a choice. It is a choice to debase the beautiful ideals that created the NHS, to betray the working class, and place profit before people.

I am trapped more in this disgusting system, than I am in my bed. I continue to be a not-so-patient patient, hoping that one day people will be considered more important than profit.

The Socialist Party says:

  • An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff including those in privatised sectors. Minimum wage of £15 an hour. Scrap zero-hour contracts immediately
  • Reverse all privatisations. Scrap the Health and Social Care Bill and Private Finance Initiative. Bring all outsourced workers and services in-house on permanent contracts
  • A fully publicly funded NHS and care system, free at the point of use. Scrap prescription charges in England, dental and all health charges
  • Nationalise the private healthcare sector, care homes, the medical supply industry and the pharmaceutical companies – integrate them into the NHS
  • Reinstate student bursaries and scrap tuition fees
  • We can’t trust pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-working-class politicians. Fight for the building of a new mass workers’ party
  • A socialist NHS – democratically run by elected and accountable committees, including service workers and users
  • A socialist planned economy to end oppression, poverty and inequality