Rishi Sunak's NHS pledge one year on: Waiting lists up at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust

More people were waiting for treatment at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust in January than were a year before, figures show.
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In January 2023 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made five pledges to the British public – including a promise that "NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly".

With figures now available for this January, the PM has failed to cut waiting lists at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, and across England.

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NHS England figures show 53,680 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the end of January – down slightly from 53,893 in December, but an increase on 49,407 in January 2023.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Of those, 1,220 (two per cent) had been waiting for longer than a year.

The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust was 14 weeks at the end of January – up from 13 weeks in January 2023.

In better news for the PM, January saw the fourth consecutive month-on-month fall across England, although 250,000 more patients were waiting than in January last year.

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Mr Sunak admitted to failing to keep this pledge in an interview with TalkTV in February.

However, this week Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the Government’s "commitment to cutting waiting times is unwavering".

She added: "This has been achieved despite disruptive strikes and record winter pressures on our NHS services."

Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting accused the Government of having "broken every pledge" on NHS waits.

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The Health Foundation said despite some progress, the NHS has a "mountain to climb" on waiting lists.

Spokesman Tim Gardner said there was no "silver bullet", but investment and long-term action would help relieve pressures on the health service.

Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in January – the same as in December.

At Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, 9,849 patients were waiting for one of 13 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.

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Of them, 2,749 (28 per cent) had been waiting for at least six weeks.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said "demand for NHS services across the country remains high".

He said: "It is testament to the hard work of staff and the measures in our elective recovery plan that despite the longest period of industrial action in NHS history in January, with one in five days affected, staff still managed to bring the waiting list down."

He added that staff are using new technologies to bring down the longest waits for patients.