Listening to Rishi Sunak speak today, you wouldn’t think that the country is in the grip of economic turmoil and crisis in the NHS. You don’t have to go far to read of NHS trusts and boards calling major incidents, or London Ambulance saying they will only wait 45 minutes before leaving patients in hospital corridors. Everywhere there are accounts of traumatised, stressed nurses, doctors and patients in A and E departments up and down the country.
It is all very grim.
Sunak’s five priorities would fail the SMART objective test on any work training day.
He could claim he had done them without alleviating much suffering. I mean what does “NHS waiting lists will fall” actually mean for someone who has been told that they can have an appointment for their hernia in mid 2024? What does “the economy will grow” mean? A tiny decimal point which makes no measurable difference? Reduce national debt – to what, how and what will that mean for public services? And a piece of red meat for the xenophobic right about getting rid of asylum seekers. The one specific pledge, to halve inflation, seems to be going to happen anyway according to the Bank of England forecasts.
It’s all very cynical.
Ed Davey was unimpressed, saying:
People will be dismayed that Rishi Sunak still doesn’t have a proper plan to deal with the crisis raging in the NHS. He is asleep at the wheel while patients are treated in hospital corridors and the health service is stretched to breaking point.
Families up and down the country are facing personal tragedies every day and this Conservative Government either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care.
Ministers should have been working to tackle this crisis for months, instead they spent most of 2022 indulging in a Conservative Party psychodrama. Now the whole country is paying the price.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings