The NHS faces 'serious problems' with its waiting lists amid strikes, health ... trends now
The NHS is facing 'serious problems' with strikes impacting record NHS waiting lists, the health secretary has said.
Victoria Atkins told the BBC avoiding a winter crisis in the NHS was her 'number one priority' and planning for the season had started 'much earlier than usual'.
When asked by BBC presenter Laura Kuenssberg if she acknowledged there are serious problems in the NHS, Ms Atkins said: 'Well, yes, and this is why we have record funding into the NHS but also we have a series of plans to tackle, for example, urgent and emergency care.
'Of course, we know that the NHS, like every other healthcare system in the world, when temperatures drop, is going to come under pressure.'
Victoria Atkins (pictured) told the BBC avoiding a winter crisis in the NHS was her 'number one priority'
Ms Atkins also said that strikes had 'really had an impact on waiting lists'
Recent figures from NHS England show the overall waiting list reached 7.77 million at the end of September - the highest it has ever been.
This consists of around 6.5 million patients, with some waiting for more than one treatment.
Meanwhile, there are 761 fewer GPs than there were four years ago, and the average ambulance response time for the likes of heart attacks and strokes stands at 42 minutes - more than double the target.