Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties have called for Prime Minister Theresa May or Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to appear before MPs on Monday.
Medical organisations and personnel are united in their belief that GP services and hospitals in England have reached breaking point. Some doctors have said the current winter crisis is reminiscent of the “dark days of 1990”.
Pressure is mounting on May to take action. Earlier she denied claims from the Red Cross which said a “humanitarian crisis” was happening in English hospitals, and former Tory health minister and practising doctor, Dan Poulter, has said it is essential that MPs disclose the issues as there was a need to focus minds and look for cross-party solutions.
Dr Mark Holland has called on May to convene a session of Cobra, a committee that meets only to tackle national emergencies.
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said May must appear before the Commons to “set out to the British people how she plans to fix her failure on the NHS”. NHS England figures show that the number of routine operations cancelled has reached record levels, and patients have died unnecessarily due to a shortage of beds.
May, who is preparing to give a speech on Monday has no plans of appearing before the Commons. Norman Lamb, former Lib Dem health minister said, “The situation is deteriorating. It is not sustainable. The government has a responsibility to be held to account.”
For some time the government has been warned from various bodies about how failing to provide community and social care will have a disastrous knock-on effect to the NHS.
Poulter said, “Despite the welcome increases, the extra money has barely scratched the surface of the problems facing the NHS. It is sometimes difficult for those in charge to admit that there are problems but it is vital that we are now honest about the difficulties that the NHS and social care are facing, because only by being honest will we create the pressure we need for cross-party action and a solution.”
The NHS and social care have been the subject of vicious cuts over the last eight years by the current government.