Barnsley MP attacks ‘woefully under-prepared Tory government’ over NHS winter crisis

Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, has attacked the Government for failing to prevent a winter crisis in the NHS, as Christmas figures for Barnsley Hospital were revealed.

The latest figures show that in the week following Christmas, bed occupancy rates far surpassed national safety targets.

With rates of beds taken above 85 per cent considered unsafe, Barnsley Hospital averaged 98 per cent occupancy between December 26th to 31st – one of the highest rate in the country.

And on December 31st, Barnsley Hospital reached 100 per cent occupancy, meaning all general and acute hospital beds were taken.

Nationally, the figure was also above the safety target, with 91.7 per cent of hospital beds in England occupied.

The hospital also suffered a number of ambulance handover delays, in which patients were forced to wait outside the A&E department in ambulances rather than being immediately transferred into the hospital.

In the week following Christmas, 513 patients arrived at Barnsley Hospital in an ambulance, with 11.7 per cent of these forced to wait longer than 30 minutes outside the hospital.

This included 9 patients who were trapped in ambulances for longer than 60 minutes on December 31st alone.

Commenting on the figures, Ms Peacock (pictured) laid the blame squarely on the Government for failing to prepare and support Barnsley Hospital:

“Once again, despite the heroic efforts of hard-working staff at Barnsley Hospital, patients and staff have been badly let down by this Government.

“These figures are dismal, and demonstrate the appalling lack of support this woefully under-prepared Tory Government has given our local hospital this winter.

“For Theresa May to continue denying a crisis in our NHS whilst Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt offers listless apologies is an insult to NHS staff and vulnerable people here in Barnsley whose health is being put at risk.

“Eight years of underfunding, cuts and neglect of our vital NHS services have led to this entirely preventable crisis, and it’s time this Tory Government got a grip of the situation.”

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