The Daily Mail has used a front page spread to report on figures showing that there are 3.2 million awaiting surgery in the UK, a rise of 700,000 compared with 2010. Ministers blame the increase on Britain’s ageing population and rising demand for new treatments, with hospitals having to carry out an extra 2,300 operations a day compared with four years ago. Unsurprisingly, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham criticised the Government, arguing that: “people are seeing a return to that old Tory choice of suffering in silence or paying to go private.”
It has been further reported by The Daily Telegraph that NHS England is to provide £2 million to eight charities, including Age UK and the British Red Cross, to run projects to help keep the elderly out of hospitals over the winter.
Pete from PSI: The Labour Party will no doubt jump on these figures as further evidence that the Conservatives are losing support of its ‘own press pack’ after a series of damning articles in The Sun last week. The problem with both sides arguing over NHS statistics is that it is always possible to spin a set of stats to back up your own argument on the NHS, and next week we will no doubt be reporting on fresh figures showing that waiting times are at the lowest level since records began!