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The Guardian reports that waiting times are increasing.

Mary Salisbury says that when she needed the NHS “it wasn’t there for me”. This is likely to be how most people will experience the Con-Dems brutal attack on the NHS. They are unaware that the Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats are destroying the NHS. One day when they really need it, it simply won’t be there for them.

The Guardian has an editorial urging Lib-Dem MPs to wake up on the NHS.

Conservative election poster 2010

A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.

NHS waiting time increases may cost lives, doctors warn | Society | The Guardian

Delays could mean illnesses reach stage where surgery or drugs cannot treat them, chair of BMA’s consultants committee says

Patients could die because of rising NHS waiting lists for tests and treatment, the leader of Britain’s hospital doctors has warned. Delays in identifying conditions such as cancer may mean that a patient’s illness reaches the stage where surgery or drugs cannot save them, Dr Mark Porter told the Guardian.

Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee, said the growing delays were “inhumane” because the ensuing uncertainty added to patients’ fear and suffering.

His remarks will add to the pressure on David Cameron, who has offered several recent personal guarantees that patients will not have to endure long waits to be treated.

A Guardian analysis of official NHS data on England’s six main waiting time targets shows that five are increasingly being breached. The number of patients waiting more than six weeks for a diagnostic test such as an MRI scan has quadrupled in the last year, an extra 2,400 people a month are not being treated within 18 weeks, and 200,000 patients waited longer than four hours in A&E this year compared with the same period in 2010, the data reveals.

The growing number not being tested or treated within the required time limits was of particular concern, Porter said. “If patients are now exceeding those times, then those patients’ treatment options are being limited, and if that happens then there’s a potential for patients suffering harm.

“It may be that someone’s disease progresses beyond the point where surgery might usually give a cancer patient a potential cure, but the patient then receives palliative care only,” he said.

NHS waiting times: one women’s agonising delay | Society | The Guardian

A special needs teacher says the wait she endured for surgery on her back problem was inhumane and unspeakable

Mary Salisbury, a retired special needs teacher, was advised to have back surgery in June 2010. But the operation did not happen until March 2011, even though NHS rules say it should have been carried out within 18 weeks.

“My back trouble began in 2009. I had an MRI scan in February 2010 at St Mary’s hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight, where I live. But I then had to wait until early June to see the consultant, as he only visits the island once a month from Southampton. He immediately recommended an operation called a laminectomy to relieve the pressure on the nerve between my fourth and fifth vertebrae, which was being crushed and causing me severe pain, a condition called a lumbar stenosis.

“The consultant said the waiting time was about 12 weeks. First, I was told the surgery should be in September or October, and then November or December. But I was never given a definite date. Every time I rang Southampton General hospital the operation receded further and further into the distance. Just before Christmas, I was told it would be 31 January, but that was cancelled. So were three subsequent operations, two of them on the day after I’d stayed in Southampton the night before and arrived as instructed at 7.30am.

“The surgery finally happened on 23 March this year – 42 weeks after I’d first seen the consultant, but a year and six weeks after I’d had the MRI scan. I’ve been sorted now, happily. But the wait I had to endure for treatment was inhumane and unspeakable. I was in a lot of pain, but I wasn’t being treated. They said priority cases were being treated. Why wasn’t I a priority? I was in serious pain and distress, couldn’t sleep properly and became depressed. I’d always been a healthy person and never needed the NHS beforehand. Yet when I needed it, it wasn’t there for me.

Health warning – Our view – Yorkshire Post

NO Government policy is enjoying a smooth passage at present, not least David Cameron’s NHS changes that face renewed scrutiny. The news that GPs could earn premium rates of up to £100 an hour to take on additional budgetary duties perpetuates the belief that health spending is being recycled rather than redirected to patients.

As even more demands are placed on taxpayers, many will be uncomfortable at the prospect of GPs earning more money than well-remunerated NHS chief executives. The rate will vary dramatically depending on the area they work in, another cause for concern.

There also remains confusion over how much of the money will go direct to the GPs, and how much will fund the costs of locum cover. These vital details need to be established quickly.

The rates are being negotiated locally and the apparent lack of guidance from Westminster will do little to allay fears that the NHS reforms have been ill-conceived.

Such lucrative hourly rates will raise concerns that shielding the NHS from cuts was a backward step, allowing significant funds to remain at the top of the organisation rather than filtering down to patients.

That the figures only came to light following an investigation by this newspaper is further indicative of the lack of clarity surrounding Mr Cameron’s reforms, even in their revised format, and why further changes are likely to be necessary.

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