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Keir Starmer demands circuit break to protect NHS

Keir Starmer has called on the Government to introduce a circuit break to drive down Covid-19 transmissions and ensure the NHS in the North West is equipped for the winter.

As a second wave of coronavirus threatens healthcare in the region, analysis of figures published by NHS England has revealed long A&E waiting times, delays to cancer treatment and huge backlogs for life-saving tests for patients in the North West.

Starmer has demanded a circuit break as pressure on local NHS services grows, with figures showing 35,139 patients in the NHS North West region waited more than four hours for A&E treatment last month.

•            42% of patients (78,914 people) waiting more than 6 weeks for crucial diagnostic tests – compared to just 2% of patients in February.

•             560,690 people on waiting lists for treatment, with 53% waiting over 18 weeks.

•            24.1% of cancer patients waiting over 62 days for treatment.

On Wednesday, people in Liverpool were warned of a "dire situation" with local hospitals at risk of exceeding capacity in the coming days. Calum Semple, member of SAGE and Liverpool University Professor, said "we are looking at exceeding healthcare capacity in the next week or so."

The detrimental long-term impact of Tory underfunding on the region’s NHS in the run up to the Covid-19 pandemic has been further exposed today in official NHS Trust documents.

New analysis from Labour of NHS Trust risk registers has revealed numerous risks classed as “significant” or “extreme” currently blighting hospitals across the North West. The majority of risks are linked to a lack of funding, staffing shortages or major problems with buildings and failing equipment.

Of 16 risk registers analysed from Trusts in the North West:

  • 15 trusts reported a workforce risk such as staff shortages
  • 12 trusts reported a financial risk such as lack of short or long term funding
  • 8 trusts reported a capital risk relating to estates, facilities equipment or IT, such as problems with buildings or failing equipment
  • 14 trusts reported a risk to patient care or patient safety
  • 13 trusts reported a risk directly related to Covid.

Speaking on BBC North West, Starmer said:

“People are really anxious now about the infection rate going up, hospital admissions going up and the death rate going up. This will not turn around on its own.

“We need a circuit break and I urge the government to listen to the science.”

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