NHS Winter Crisis Opposition Day Debate

On Wednesday 10 January 2018 an Opposition Day Debate was held on the NHS Winter Crisis.

The Opposition Labour Party tabled the following motion for debate:

“That this House expresses concern at the effect on patient care of the closure of 14,000 hospital beds since 2010; records its alarm at there being vacancies for 100,000 posts across the NHS; regrets the decision of the Government to reduce social care funding since 2010; notes that hospital trusts have been compelled to delay elective operations because of the Government’s failure to allocate adequate resources to the NHS; condemns the privatisation of community health services and calls on the Government to increase cash limits for the current year to enable hospitals to resume a full service to the public, including rescheduling elective operations, and to report to the House by Oral Statement and written report before 1 February 2018 on what steps it is taking to comply with this resolution.”

Patients and staff are currently experiencing the worst NHS winter crisis on record. So far this winter over 75,000 patients have waited in the back of ambulances for over 30 minutes, bed occupancy has averaged at a staggering 93.5% and there have been 150 diverts from A&E departments in England.

The Prime Minister has claimed that the NHS is ‘better prepared’ for winter than ever before. However, NHS England has taken the unprecedented decision of deferring non-urgent operations until the end of January. Officials estimate that up to 55,000 procedures will be affected, with likely knock-on effects into February. Following this, the Care Quality Commission has taken the decision to suspend routine inspections because of winter pressures. Gaining a full picture of winter pressures is critically important and the CQC’s decision leaves a serious deficit of quality regulation. This is unacceptable and Labour’s motion calls on the Government to provide immediate funding to enable Trusts to reschedule elective operations as soon as possible.

The motion was agreed to without a vote. The Government did not defend their position and the Secretary of State will now come to the House before the end of the month to make an oral statement to explain when cancelled operations will be rescheduled.”