On the crisis in A&E: ’neither the Department of Health and Social Care, nor NHS England, seem prepared to deliver the leadership required with the urgency required’ (House of Lords report, 19 January 2023)
The latest assessment of the state of emergency healthcare in the NHS comes from a new report by a House of Lords (HoL) committee. The Public Services Committee has a Labour peer as Chair, three other Labour members, three Tory members, two Lib Dems and two cross-benchers. The focus of the committee’s report is NHS England and some of its findings are quite remarkable! I strongly suspect they will never be quoted in the corporate media or the BBC. (You’ll note I did explain they are about NHS England and not Scotland!)
Source: Public Services Committee, House of Lords (19 January, 2023) Emergency healthcare: a national emergency (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5803/ldselect/pubserv/130/130.pdf )
Firstly, I wonder if the Tories in Holyrood will notice that a committee of peers has labelled the current state of emergency care in England a ‘national emergency’?
And it gets worse! In Para 49 of the same report: ‘We are concerned that neither the Department of Health and Social Care, nor NHS England, seem prepared to deliver the leadership required with the urgency required. We therefore considered how to ensure that the situation would be addressed at the highest levels of policy making. We are attracted to the idea of referring this issue to COBR, the civil contingencies committee which deals with matters of national emergencies or major disruption. This would have the benefit of securing cross-government attention, including that of the Treasury and the Prime Minister. We have set out in chapter 2 the extent to which the situation of emergency healthcare fits the criterion of “national emergency”, and we lack any confidence in the existing structures to ensure the leadership this issue needs. Referring the matter to a COBR Committee would enhance accountability and bring public attention to the severe state of affairs.’ (with my emphasis)
The Lords committee concludes: ‘Emergency healthcare, a key component in the national health service, has been allowed to degenerate, and it is likely to get worse. We see no sign that there is an adequate plan or the necessary leadership to address this.’
Which party of government has been responsible for NHS England for well over a decade? It’s the same party with successive terms in government; it is the ONLY government in this ‘precious Union’ in possession of ALL the fiscal, monetary, labour market and immigration policy levers that should have guaranteed the NHS never reached this state. It is the only one with access to the resources now to start to fix the mess!
This is Tory failure writ large – unless of course the Tories have another political agenda in play!
Is there any prospect of the Tory health spokesperson in Holyrood reading and reflecting on this HoL report before making his next contributions to the media and to our Parliament? Who should be resigning Dr Gulhane?