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Government overseen years of decline in NHS

The government has overseen years of decline in cancer care and non-urgent hospital services in England, MPs say.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said services had started deteriorating long before the pandemic. It pointed out key targets had not been met since 2016 and the pandemic had just exacerbated the problems.

But ministers said they were investing extra money and creating more capacity to treat patients, to address the backlog that had now developed.

More than six million people are currently on a hospital waiting list - one in nine of the population - the highest figure on record. This includes people waiting for operations such as knee and hip replacements.

Meanwhile, just two-thirds of urgent cancer patients start treatment within the target time of 62 days. And the number of referrals for cancer care has dropped by between 240,000 and 740,000 since the pandemic started.

The MPs said people would face serious health consequences because of delays in cancer treatment, with some dying earlier.

The government is also accused of failing to recognise staffing the health service remains its biggest problem.

The MPs said the workforce was crippled by shortages and exhausted by two years of the pandemic.

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Source: BBC News, 15 March 2022


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