When my constituent Adam asked for an appointment with a doctor, he was made to wait three months. At the consultation he was told he needed a full hip replacement and that he would have to wait another nine months for a surgery date. Six months later, he called the hospital to ask when that date might be. The hospital told him that he would have to wait a further twelve months.
It will be over two years from Adam’s first visit to the doctor to his eventual treatment.
Adam knows that he will not be able to walk by the time his surgery comes around.
Adam is but one of the millions suffering under the Conservatives’ Backlog Britain.
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Record numbers of people are waiting for care and they are waiting longer than ever before, while the Government breaks its promise to hire the GPs we so desperately need.
The story is the same in the Passport Office. Many constituents write to me about the delays they face when applying for a new passport. Before the pandemic, the target for passport turnarounds was three weeks. The Home Secretary then changed the target to ten weeks. Now even this target is missed. In the first three months of this year alone, over 35,000 people had to wait longer than 10 weeks for their passport to be issued.
That’s before they arrive at the airport, where huge queues to clear security are now the norm.
My letters to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, remain unanswered. She simply does not care about the Backlog Britain that she has helped to build.
A family gathering, a birthday, a holiday. It is remarkable how much time we lose when the most simple of government tasks stop.
And if there is one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that time is precious.
But Labour has a plan to sort this backlog out. As the last Labour government did when it reduced waiting times from 18 months to 18 weeks, we will put patients at the core of our NHS once again. This includes a guarantee that all who need it will have access to mental health treatment within a month.
After twelve long years of Conservative government, the country needs a change.
Adam cannot wait a moment more.