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Rishi Sunak to announce almost £6bn to tackle England’s record NHS waiting list

waiting list

Rishi Sunak to announce almost £6bn to tackle England’s record NHS waiting list

The number of people waiting for hospital treatment has hit 5.7 million as the health service struggles to clear the growing waiting list worsened by the pandemic.

In an effort to get a grip on the crisis, the chancellor will unveil plans for investment in NHS capital funding this week to help deliver about 30% more elective activity by 2024-25 compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is equivalent to millions more checks, scans and procedures for non-emergency patients.

“We are committed to getting health services back on track and ensuring no one is left waiting for vital tests or treatment,” said Sunak. “This is a gamechanging investment in the NHS to make sure we have the right buildings, equipment and systems to get patients the help they need and make sure the NHS is fit for the future.”

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said health leaders would welcome the funding, but added that it still “falls short” of what is needed “to get services completely back on track”.

McCay also warned that the funding would only deliver results if there were “the right number and mix of workers”. She said: “Recruitment is ongoing but with 80,000 vacancies across the NHS and fully qualified GPs per patient having dropped by 10% over the past five years, this is a long-term issue that cannot be fixed quickly.”

The waiting list is now rising by about 100,000 a month as more people who did not seek or could not access NHS treatment over the past 18 months visit a GP and are referred to hospital. The number of patients waiting more than two years has risen to nearly 10,000.

To address the backlog of people waiting for checks, tests and scans, and help get waiting lists down, £2.3bn of the funding package will be used to try to transform diagnostic services.

There will be at least 100 “one-stop-shop” community diagnostic centres across England, including the 44 already announced, Sunak is expected to say as he announces his autumn budget on Wednesday.

These centres are expected to help clear most existing test backlogs worsened by the pandemic, including for CT, MRI and ultrasound scans, by the end of the parliament, the Treasury said.

The funding will also include £1.5bn for increased bed capacity, equipment and new surgical hubs to tackle waiting times for elective surgeries. Each hub will be equipped with four or five surgical theatres designated for critical elective surgeries.

A total of £2.1bn of the £5.9bn total will be invested in technology and data in a bid to improve efficiency and security within the NHS. It is hoped the new and improved IT will help NHS staff have access to the fastest broadband, and that digital patient records will ensure patients get the best care wherever they are.

On Sunday night the Treasury said the £5.9bn in capital funding was on top of the government’s plan to use £8bn in revenue funding to tackle the elective backlog over the next three years.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has previously warned the waiting list could rise to as high as 13 million. Last night he said: “This £6bn investment will support the delivery of millions more checks, scans and procedures for patients across the country.

“Business as usual won’t be enough, that’s why we are going to reform care with more community diagnostic centres, new surgical hubs and the latest technology to help recover NHS services by tackling waiting lists.”

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Health

WHO announces global resurgence of cholera

The UN World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a spike in cholera in several regions of the world, with almost 195,000 cases and over 1,900 deaths reported in 24 countries since the start of this year.

The agency’s Eastern Mediterranean Region reported the highest number of cases, followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the Southeast Asia Region, and the European Region.

WHO, in a statement on Thursday, stated that there are no reported cases in the Western Region, according to its bulletin released on Wednesday.

The UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) by March but was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024.”

Yet, the supply of the vaccine does not equate to its demand.

WHO reported that since January last year, 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

WHO, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners are working together to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.

On the positive side of health news, WHO announced on Thursday that Chad successfully eradicated “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem.

The agency applauded the Government and people of Chad for eradicating the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis, (also known as sleeping sickness).

“I congratulate the government and the people of Chad for this achievement.

“It is great to see Chad join the growing group of countries that have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD),” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said.

In eliminating the disease, Chad joining some 50 others globally that have succeeded in this endeavour.

“The 100-country target is nearer and within reach,” Ghebreyesus, added, referring to the target set out in the road map for address neglected tropical diseases by 2030.

Sleeping sickness can cause flu-like symptoms initially but eventually causing behaviour change, confusion, sleep cycle disturbances or even coma, often leading to death.

Improved access to early diagnosis and treatment, as well as surveillance and response has proven that countries can control and eventually eliminate transmission.

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Health

Cholera outbreak: Lagos fatalities rise to 24 as Govt harps on hygiene

Lagos State has recorded additional three deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities recorded in the cholera outbreak to 24.

Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi disclosed this on his X handle on Friday.

He disclosed that the suspected cases stand at 417, while there are 35 confirmed cases.

Abayomi urged residents to “adhere strictly to personal and environmental hygiene.”

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, on Thursday, explained that Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recorded the highest number of the cases.

Ogunyemi was quoted to have revealed the figure while providing an update on the outbreak after meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre.

According to Ogunyemi, the rise in cases was anticipated following the Ileya festivities, during which large gatherings occurred.

“Following the last update on the cholera outbreak in Lagos, which reported 350 suspected cases and 15 fatalities, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi, disclosed that the total number of cholera cases has increased to 401 across Lagos, with Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recording the highest numbers.

“Dr. Ogunyemi revealed this today while providing an update on the outbreak after meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre. She added that the death toll has also risen to 21, an increase of six from the previously reported 15 fatalities,” the statement partly read.

The Governor’s aide stated that the government is maintaining rigorous surveillance and monitoring of the situation and implementing planned programs and activities to curb the spread.

“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Environment and its agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, continues to collect samples of water sources, food, and beverages to identify the source of contamination. We have also intensified our surveillance activities in communities, particularly in affected local government areas, to address the situation head-on.

“We are also working with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as well as the Ministry of Tertiary Education to ensure all precautions are taken in our schools to protect children and scholars as they return. Residents must, however, remain vigilant, practice good hand hygiene, and participate in community sanitation activities to stop the spread of cholera,” she stated.

She advised that citizens seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise, and fever, stressing that cholera treatment is provided free of charge at all public health facilities. Daily Trust

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Cholera: Kwara govt takes proactive measure to stem any outbreak

The Kwara Government has alerted healthcare surveillance teams across all the state’s 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) on preparations and preventive measures against any outbreak of cholera.

Mr Gbenga Falade, the Chief Press Secretary in the Kwara Ministry of Health, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ilorin the Ministry had also commenced awareness campaign.

”This is through jingles on radio stations on the preventive measures against the disease and how people can protect themselves,” he said.

NAN reports that cases of severe gastro-enteritis have been reported in communities around Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Kosofe LGAs of Lagos State.

Falade explained that the state ministry has kept itself abreast of news and has taken proactive measures to stem any outbreak.

“The ministry will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its citizens,” he said.

Also speaking on preventive measures, Prof. Tanimola Akande of the Department of Public Health, University of Ilorin, advised Nigerians on proper sanitation in the form of proper faecal waste disposal.

Akande, who is also a Consultant Public Health Physician with University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, (UITH), explained that other preventive measures includes food and water hygiene.

He described cholera as an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by vibrio cholerae.

According to him, it was a potentially life-threatening disease, primarily waterborne.

The expert stated that vaccination remained one of the most cost-effective measures in controlling cholera epidemic across the states.

“Vaccination is one of the cost-effective measures in the control of cholera epidemic.

“Cholera vaccination alone is not used for control of the epidemic of cholera,” he said.

Akande emphasised the need for preventive measures, including adequate food hygiene and water supply together with sanitation.

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