Rishi Sunak on NHS Crisis: “We’re Not Where We Want to Be Yet

credit: theguardian

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Rishi Sunak acknowledges NHS struggles, emphasizing progress while admitting they haven’t reached their desired outcome yet.

Rishi Sunak today confessed that the situation troubling NHS hospitals is not ‘where we want to be’ as he pressed the plan is working. The Prime Minister called for more time to turn the ailing health service’s fortunes around, said: ‘I know things will get better.’

Junior doctors mandating pay hikes worth up to £20,000 brought the struggling health service to another deadlock. It marks the 10th time since March that trainee doctors have walked out as the bitter pay dispute with the Government shows no sign of slowing.

The ‘militant’ leader of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors group asserted the Government is ‘quite happy having the strikes happen.’ Grilled about the never-ending spiral of action that has forced hospitals to cancel over a million arrangements and operations, Mr. Sunak informed BBC Radio York: ‘Are we where we want to be? Not yet. ‘Are we making progress? Yes, the plan is working. If we stick with it, I know things will get better.’

Mr. Sunak said, ‘ I come from an NHS family; of course, I don’t want to run it down.

‘We’re putting a record amount of investment in more funding, so that’s never been higher — more doctors, more nurses, and we’re making improvements. Now, look, that’s not going to happen overnight.

‘But if you look at the performance of ambulances and emergency departments this winter, it’s better than last winter. So that is progress.

‘When it comes to the waiting lists, in the last few months actually, we’ve seen the waiting lists start to fall. 

‘And that’s because we have yet to have as much industrial action. There is industrial action again, but at the end of last year, we had no industrial action in October or November, and the waiting list fell by about 150,000.’

By the end of the latest walkouts at 11.59 pm on Wednesday, hospital doctors will have taken 44 days or 1,056 hours of industrial action, equating to around 12 percent of the year. More than 1.3 million appointments have been canceled, with 7.6 million waiting to start treatment and millions more facing long waits for resumed care. 

Emergency services remain open on strike days, and officials have suggested Brits needing urgent medical care seek help as usual.  Talking from a picket line at St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, Dr Rob Laurenson, co-chair of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: ‘I don’t think the Government wants to end this dispute.

‘They are quite happy having the strikes happen. And they are failing everyone.

‘I find it difficult to understand if this is incompetence or malice. Either way, it fails everyone.’

Dr Laurenson said: ‘This round of action is because in December, Victoria Atkins (Health Secretary) said she would be back around the table in 20 minutes with another offer to make. But those 20 minutes turned into 20 days.’So then she sent a junior minister who said they had no further offer up his sleeve, so the Government lied.’

Read More: Call for Rishi Sunak to Initiate Inquiry into ‘Institutional Islamophobia’ within Conservative Party

Junior doctors call for pay restoration, saying they have faced real-terms pay cuts of over a quarter since 2008. This equates to around 35 per cent

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.