UK's NHS in crisis, warns committee chair

London, Oct 26 (IANS): The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is in crisis, the chair of a parliamentary committee has warned.

Urgent and emergency NHS care is a "postcode lottery", lawmakers on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said in their report.

The study found wide regional variations in ambulance response times, with not enough done to tackle delayed discharges of patients from hospitals, reports Xinhua news agency.

An uncosted long-term NHS workforce plan, the committee warned, could lead to unsustainable financial pressures for the NHS, the UK's biggest employer with a workforce of almost 1.3 million doctors, nurses and other staff.

How quickly an ambulance arrives to take patients to hospitals depends too much on where in the country they live, the report said.

Average ambulance response times for the most serious incidents varied from nearly seven minutes in London to over 10 minutes in South-West England.

Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, said: "Anyone who has had recent contact with the NHS knows it is in crisis. Patients suffering long waits and hard-pressed staff working in a system which is not delivering deserve better.

"The government and the health system need to be alert to the serious doubts our report lays out around the workforce crisis, both the approach to tackling it now and the additional costs funding it in the future."


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Title: UK's NHS in crisis, warns committee chair

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