NHS Winter Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:42 pm on 10th January 2018.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 1:42 pm, 10th January 2018

I totally agree. This is the central flaw in the Labour party’s case. We know that winter is the most difficult time, but Labour says that there is political responsibility in one part of the UK while saying absolutely nothing about Wales. I notice that the shadow Health Secretary is looking down at his notes as we talk about Wales, but the reality is that that completely blows apart his case. According to the British Medical Association, there is one area in Wales where not a single doctor was available overnight, and the performance of one A&E has fallen to 40%, which is unheard of in England—or, indeed, Scotland.

However, there is a political decision, which my hon. Friend Vicky Ford mentioned, that has a big impact on NHS winter performance: the number of doctors we train. Not once in my time as Health Secretary have I heard Labour call for an increase in training places. [Interruption.] No, I have not. The simple truth is that there is no point throwing money at a problem if there are not doctors and nurses available to spend the money on. While I have been Health Secretary, we have had 40,000 more doctors, nurses and other clinicians working in the NHS, but we need more. That is why, under this Prime Minister, we have announced the biggest increase in training places for doctors and nurses in the history of the NHS.