The Health Secretary won't admit to an A&E crisis. Photo: Getty
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NHS pressures hitting A&E causes a political crisis for the Tories

A number of hospitals in recent days have declared "major incidents" because of A&E pressures.

Emergency departments in our hospitals have reached a "tipping point", according to Dr Clifford Mann, the president of the College of Emergency Medicine. He is referring to the release of figures today expected to show the worst performance of A&E units in a decade, with the government's four-hour target waiting time almost certainly missed.

NHS England is set to publish some damning data on the last quarter of last year today, revealing the pressure on our hospitals that the increase in patients attending A&E, up 20,000 since 2013, has had. A number of hospitals have filed "major incident" warnings in recent days, because their emergency departments have been overstretched.

In spite of a number of senior figures in the medical world – including those working in some of the hospitals issuing major incident warnings – regarding the situation as an unprecedented situation, government figures have so far refused to call this a "crisis". Dr Ian Proctor of one of the affected teaching hospitals used the word in an interview on the BBC's Today programme this morning, but the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who was interviewed afterwards, refused to use such terms.

It's clear there is a capacity and, to some extent, a resource issue affecting our hospitals, but government ministers – specifically Conservative ones – would fall into a political crisis if it treated the situation with the gravity it calls for. This is because Labour's narrative for over a year has been about an "A&E crisis" in our hospitals. As Labour ramps up its rhetoric on the NHS, and the rhetoric manifests itself as a reality in our beleagured health service, it will become increasingly difficult for Tory figures like Hunt to close the credibility gap in its approach to the public service that could well become the general election's central battleground.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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Ed Miliband is interviewing David Miliband on the Jeremy Vine show

Sibling rivalry hits the radio.

David was the chosen one, the protege, the man destined to lead the Labour party. 

But instead his awkward younger brother committed the ultimate sibling betrayal by winning the Labour party leadership election instead.

Not only that, but he lost the 2015 general election, and between those two dates, tinkered with the leadership election rules in a way that ultimately led to Jeremy Corbyn's victory

It seems, though, radio can bring these two men of thwarted ambition together.

Your Mole can reveal that Ed Miliband will interview his brother on the Jeremy Vine show, at 1pm during the two-hour show, which starts at 12.

But David, who is president of the International Rescue Committee, is there to discuss something more serious than family drama - his recent TED talk about the refugee crisis.  

Although the Mole understands that although the Miliband brothers will reunite on air, they will still be separated by the body of water that is the Atlantic Ocean...

I'm a mole, innit.

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