Toby’s question to the Health Secretary following the worst winter on record for the NHS. Even Tory MPs recognise that Labour has a long-term plan for our #NHS and this government doesn’t.
Toby Perkins: Thank you very much Sir Roger. I met, last week, with, Hal Spencer, the Chief Executive of Chesterfield Royal Hospital, and the pressure that he and his staff have faced as Chesterfield went into a Critical Incident over Christmas were etched all over his face.
He spoke about the pressures on A&E Registrars, on Ambulance Drivers, Nurses, of coming up face to face with people who have been waiting 24 hours in a corridor, on a trolley or people who have been waiting many hours for an ambulance to turn up.
Isn’t the reality that this is a system wide failure, 13 years in the making, and didn’t the Hon. Gentleman from Gainsborough hit the nail on the head when he said that Labour have a long term plan for our NHS and this government don’t?
Secretary of State: So, the first point. Is this a system wide challenge? Absolutely, it’s a system wide challenge and that is why what happens, in terms of demand management upstream, in the care home, in the home, how we’re using innovation, such as virtual wards, in that capacity, is important just as discharge and getting those patients that are fit to leave hospital is equally important so, whilst often the focus has been on ambulances being delayed at A&E or the very significant and real pressures within Emergency Departments themselves, actually the challenge is a much wider one and that is what the funding at the Autumn Statement recognised.
But to his second point, which is, this is about a longer-term issue within England specifically. I would just point him to the examples in Wales, I point him to the pressures in Scotland and also the fact that this surge in flu, combined with COVID and pandemic legacy, that we have seen in England create so much pressure over the festive period, is something many other health systems, around the globe, have also been grappling with.