The Tories would have us believe that the A&E crisis has nothing to do with them. Nothing to do with the £3bn they wasted on a pointless re-organisation, the loss of 6,000 nurses from the NHS since David Cameron became Prime Minister or the dismantling of alternatives to A&E like walk-in centres and social care support for the elderly at home.
Instead they claim that changes made to 2004 GP contract are the cause of the crisis in A&E.
The problem for the Tories is that the truth isn’t on their side and senior people in the NHS have been lining up to rubbish their claim.
First, Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the Health Select Committee, and former Tory Health Secretary no less, said the GP contract “is not why pressures exist.” Then, Clare Gerada, from the Royal College of GPs said:
I think it’s lazy to blame the 2004 GP contract. They’re blaming a contract that’s nearly 10 years old for an issue that’s become a problem recently.
Finally, Dr Vautrey from the BMA’s GP Committee said this morning:
I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that the changes ten years ago have had an impact on what’s happening in Accident and Emergency departments today.
The truth is revealed by this graph: Labour eliminated the winter crisis in A&E, but under David Cameron we saw a winter A&E crisis last year and an unprecedented summer A&E crisis this year.
In the last 12 months, a million people have waited more than four hours in A&E. Four-hour waits in A&E are up, trolley waits are up, ambulance queues are up, delayed discharges are up and we’re even seeing people being ferried to hospitals in police cars because ambulances aren’t available.
There’s only one person responsible for the A&E crisis, and that’s David Cameron.
Andrew Gwynne is the Member of Parliament for Denton and Reddish, and Shadow Health Minister