PM cannot ‘bury head in sand’ over NHS, says BMA

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The BMA has said the Prime Minister cannot continue to ‘bury her head in the sand’ following claims by the British Red Cross of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the NHS.

Both Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have rejected comments last week from Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross, in which he labelled the current situation in A&E a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

Speaking after a lecture on Monday at the Charity Commission, Mrs May claimed that the current situation was ‘not unusual’. She said: ‘Obviously, we recognize the pressures that the NHS has been under, over the winter. This is not unusual. There are always extra pressures for the NHS over the winter period. But if you look at what has happened in terms of funding for the NHS, of course, we have put that extra funding into the NHS.’

Mr Hunt told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I don’t want to pretend that we haven’t, at this most difficult time of year for the NHS, had some very serious problems in some hospitals. But I think we need to listen to independent people.’

Mr Hunt went on to quote the opinion of Chris Hobson, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers: ‘He says the vast majority of hospitals are actually coping better this year than last year.’

Responding to the situation, Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council Chair, said: ‘Given that the NHS was facing the worst winter on record, the unacceptable absence of additional funding for health and social care in the Autumn statement has only further exacerbated the crisis. We have seen no signs from the PM since taking office that she understands the gravity of the situation the NHS is facing.’

He continued: ‘As lack of beds and inadequate social care funding has prompted the Red Cross to declare a humanitarian crisis in our hospitals, Theresa May cannot continue to bury her head in the sand as the situation in our NHS and social care sector deteriorates.’

Dr Porter added: ‘Now more than ever, investment in health and social care funding is critical to ease the pressure on acute beds as patients are left to endure some of the worst conditions in decades.’