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31
Jul

Shadow Health Secretary challenges PM over NHS funding commitments


Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth has written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to ask for details about exactly where the 20 promised hospital upgrades will take place and how much funding will be allocated to each hospital.

 

Mr Ashworth has also asked for clarification over how the government will ensure funding reaches the frontline of services and over pledges to “drastically” reduce waiting times, questioning which waiting times this promise refers to.

 

“The truth is that years of cuts are pushing hospitals to the brink. Research conducted by my office last month found that incidents had occurred in 76 hospital Trusts in England because of estates and infrastructure failures in 2018/19,” he says.

 

“Problems included sewage and water leaking on to hospital wards, broken lifts and ceilings collapsing. Some incidents have affected patient care, often leading to the cancellation of appointments and leaving people waiting longer for vital treatment.”

 

Mr Ashworth emphasises the failure of the government to invest in infrastructure capital projects when patients deserve to be treated in the best quality health facilities, with the most up-to-date equipment.

 

On waiting times, he highlights that one in four patients now wait a week or more to see their GP, yet numbers of GPs are falling; the A&E waiting time target has not been met for nearly four years and the 62-day cancer waiting time target has not been met since December 2015.

 

“NHS England itself has made clear that core treatment targets can’t be met because of the funding settlement imposed by the government,” he says. “The Autumn Budget announcement excluded public health budgets, training and capital – meaning it’s an increase of just 3% for health services when we have a childhood obesity crisis, cuts to sexual health and addiction services, workforce shortages and a backlog of billions of pounds for repairs. 

 

“I would be keen to hear exactly how you plan on ensuring funding gets to frontline services considering the significant, sustained challenges facing our health service.”

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