Thursday, June 20News For London

NHS delays: ‘I’m stuck in a waiting room, waiting to die’

Patients face extreme waiting times to receive treatment
Photo Credit: Zuzana Revayova

A cancer patient is prepared for the worst as she has been waiting for her chemotherapy treatment for over seven months.

Carmen, 42, East London, was diagnosed with cancer in January. Her treatment was scheduled to start in April. A few weeks before her first chemotherapy appointment was to take place, she was told her treatment was postponed.

Carmen, who doesn’t wish to reveal her surname, is devastated that she has to wait for essential treatment for so long. She is worried about the consequences this might have on her health in the long run.

She said: “I have still not been told when I will start my treatment. It’s frustrating because I can’t have a proper job, I can’t go about my normal life and my cancer is probably getting worse. I’m just stuck in a perpetual waiting room, waiting to die.”

One in eight of Brits were waiting for their treatment in October
Video Credit: Zuzana Revayova

Overbooked GPs

Carmen’s case is not an exception. Less than 61 percent of England’s 14,425 cancer patients with urgent referrals from their GP, had waited less than two months to start their treatment.

It’s not just hospital procedures that are facing lengthy backlogs. GP surgeries are overwhelmed with the amount of patients seeking appointments.

Lida Palas, 25, Kensington, struggled to get a GP appointment when she experienced severe flu symptoms.

 She said: “I was ill with temperatures and a bad cough for three weeks and have not been able to see my GP because they were always fully booked. It got to the point where I had to go to A&E because my symptoms got so bad.” 

She continued: “My throat was so irritated from all the coughing that I started to cough up specks of blood. My body has still not fully recovered. This long waiting time is hurting a lot of people. When it comes down to it, its neglect of care.”

The planned NHS worker strike action is predicted to create further disruption. GPs have warned that the NHS is at ‘breaking point’.

The government is planning to use the military personnel during the strikes to ensure essential services continue to run.

Doctors and nurses are calling for the government to increase NHS funding, improve working conditions and make plans for an increase in the NHS workforce in order to tackle these backlogs. 

NHS England

A recent NHS England report shows that 7.2 million people were waiting to begin hospital treatments in October. This is the highest number recorded since records began in 2007.  

During the month of October, England’s ambulances took an average of 48.8 minutes to respond to emergency calls. Patients with various issues such as burns, stores and epileptic fits had to endure long waiting times.

Around 410,983 patients have been waiting for over a year to receive essential medical treatment.