By Leanne Simmons
A PATIENT who has been waiting for treatment for nearly two years for a severe skin condition agrees with the British Medical Association’s claim that the NHS is at “breaking point”.
Elaine Binns, 25, of Wakefield, first started noticing an itchy rash on her arms around two years ago, which gradually spread to her whole body.
She said: “After several trips to my local GP, they didn’t refer me to the hospital until I was desperate and even then, I had to wait over six months to see a specialist.
“I was then misdiagnosed twice making my issue worse. I’m in despair with my skin and how itchy and uncomfortable it is.
“I am now again on a six-month waiting list to see another specialist for a patch test, but I don’t know if I will get a diagnosis, and if it will relieve me of the unbearable discomfort I have to deal with every day with a red allergic reaction all over my body.
“I no longer have hope for the NHS. After all this time I don’t ever think they will find a cure for my severe skin condition and what I am allergic to.
“They are just so understaffed and funded, they don’t have the resources for patients. Something must be done, before we lose the NHS all together.”
Yesterday the British Medical Association claimed that the NHS is at “breaking point” due to delays in admissions and the number of cancelled operations.
Analysis of NHS England data reveals that the number of patients waiting more than the 18 week target for non-urgent surgery has more than doubled in the four years to November 2016.
And the King‘s Fund think tank believes the number of patients waiting for operations in England will soon top four million – for the first time in nearly a decade.
Hospitals are having to divert more energy into dealing with emergencies which means people have to wait longer to be treated for more long-term conditions.
Government funding has been cut repeatedly, most recently by 30 per cent and patients are now on an ever-growing waiting lists, as an ageing population and the pressures of immigration and social care also mean demand is through the roof.
Mehreen Ali, GP Principal at AW Surgeries, at Bierley Hill, West Midlands, said: “Waiting times are getting longer as demands on services are getting bigger. The biggest reason is underfunding of our services, we don’t have enough GPs to start with.
“We offer same day appointments for children, patients with long term illnesses and emergencies, but to see a doctor of choice the waiting time is two weeks.”
Another long-suffering patient Claire Vernon, 45, spoke out about her experience with the NHS, and said she felt forced to go private to get the treatment she needs, to help stop her excruciating back pain, after not being able to walk without being in agony:
Top ten NHS facts:
The National Health Service was first launched in 1948.
The NHS provides free health care for all UK-based citizens.
The NHS is funded by taxation of UK citizens. If you earn £25,000 a year you pay on average £1,094 to the NHS.
When the NHS was first founded the budget was only £437 million, the budget for 2015/16 was around £116.4 billion.
The NHS has more than 1.5 million employees, which is increasing every day. This is approximately one in 23 of the working population.
A 12-minute appointment with a GP costs the NHS around £45.
A prescription, including the price of drugs, costs the NHS around £41, but the patient pays £8.40 per item.
Prescriptions used to be free, until a growing drugs bill prompted the introduction of prescription charges in 1952.
The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours.
NHS ambulances make over 50,000 emergency journeys each week.