MP “devastated” by patient waiting list deaths

Sarah Champion MP in ParliamentSarah Champion MP in Parliament
Sarah Champion MP in Parliament
AN MP has blasted “unacceptable” waiting lists after data revealed nearly 500 people died in Rotherham last year waiting for care on the NHS.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was “devastated” after a freedom of information request by the Labour Party revealed 489 people died while on a waiting list at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

The NHS constitution states patients should not wait more than 18 weeks for treatment, but almost half in England today wait longer to receive healthcare.

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In Rotherham, 97 people died having waited for treatment longer than 18 weeks.

A record 7.6 million people are waiting for treatment in England, with 30,030 patients on the waiting list in Rotherham.

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said: “I’m devastated that so many more people are losing their lives whilst waiting for vital care.

“Whilst our brilliant NHS doctors and nurses are working incredibly hard, real-term cuts to our health service are causing long-term damage to the care people in Rotherham are receiving.

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“It is unacceptable that waiting times are only getting longer, when we know earlier

access to treatment can prevent further suffering.”

However, as reported in the Advertiser last week, the figures have been deemed “misleading” by Rotherham Hospital as well as the government.

A spokesperson for Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our waiting list increased during the pandemic and we are working hard to reduce it again.

“We are sorry that patients are waiting longer than before but it would be misleading to suggest that deaths are related to being on a waiting list.

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“Our review indicates that the vast majority of those who died, died with an illness unrelated to the care they were waiting for and around three quarters were not waiting for procedures.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson also called the findings “misleading”.

“This data is based upon a small sample size and it’s wrong to suggest this reflects the picture across the Health Service,” they said.

“Figures should not be compared year on year, as there are more people on waiting lists overall now because of the pandemic.”