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‘National tragedy’: figures show large rise in people dying while on NHS waiting list

More than 120,000 people in England died last year while on the NHS waiting list for hospital treatment, figures obtained by Labour appear to show.

That would be a record high number of such deaths, and is double the 60,000 patients who died in 2017/18.

For example, the Royal Free hospital in London said it had had 3,615 such deaths, while there were 2,888 at the Morecambe Bay trust in Cumbria and 2,039 at Leeds teaching hospitals trust.

Hospital bosses said the deaths highlighted the dangers of patients having to endure long waits for care and reflected a “decade of underinvestment” that had left the NHS with too few staff and beds.

Healthwatch England, a patient advocacy group that scrutinises NHS performance, said the number of people dying while waiting for care was “a national tragedy”.

Louise Ansari, the chief executive, said: “We know that delays to care have significant impacts on people’s lives, putting many in danger.”

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Source: The Guardian, 31 August 2023


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