NHS Winter Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:09 pm on 10th January 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 2:09 pm, 10th January 2018

Attendances at A&E tend to be higher in the summer, when kids are on bikes and trampolines, and up trees. It is admissions that are higher in winter, when A&E is dominated by people who are sick. Of course we want primary care and the 111 system to work, so that people do not use A&E as a first port of call, but the problem comes when that all gets too complicated and patients cannot work out where they should go. That is when they go to A&E. It is important to make it really clear where they should go to address which problems.

Having seen the crisis last year, when there was no flu, snow or ice to blame, I believe that there are underlying structural problems. The target was met comfortably until 2013, when the Health and Social Care Act 2012 changes kicked in and NHS England started to become fragmented and to be based on competition instead of co-operation. I would welcome the establishment of a cross-party group here to work on this, so that we did not always have to have these debates, but it would have to look at the structure and unpick what has been done to NHS England in the past four and a half years. Carrying on breaking it apart will not provide a solution.