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NHS staff shortage hits ops.

Crippling NHS staff shortages were last night blamed for a big jump in cancelled operations.

A new report found the health service had 10,600 unfilled posts for doctors and nurses.

The jobs crisis is thought to have triggered a five per cent jump in cancelled ops as waiting lists hit a record high.

LibDem health spokesman Dr Evan Harris, who uncovered the figures, claimed since May's election Labour had "not lifted a finger to fill these gaping holes in NHS staff shortages".

He also called for higher grants to attract student nurses.

The NHS needs 2600 more medics - 1000 GPs and 1600 hospital doctors - plus 8000 nurses to get up to strength.

Latest figures reveal during the six months to September last year the number of cancelled ops rose five per cent to 23,569.

Dr Harris added: "The NHS is facing a staffing crisis this winter.

"With nearly 10,000 doctors and nurses missing from wards, a record number of operations have been cancelled and the NHS is unable to treat the sick and the elderly this winter.

"Years of Conservative neglect have sapped staff morale and this Government must take action now."

Harris also accused Health Secretary Frank Dobson of trying to paint a picture of co- operation within the NHS and treatment for all patients.

But Harris added: "Without the staff he is wasting his breath."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 2, 1998
Words:230
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