Andrew Marr: Brits will get first taste of 'terrible winter' ahead as the NHS is stretched to breaking point

23 November 2022, 18:11

Tonight with Andrew Marr
Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Emma Soteriou

Brits will get their first taste of the "terrible winter" ahead as the NHS is stretched to breaking point, Andrew Marr has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter addressed the areas set to be hit hardest by the upcoming winter of discontent.

"It's been another day dominated at one level by debate about the weakness of the economy and the terrible winter ahead of us," Andrew said.

"But what do those words that actually mean? Politicians intone about tough times ahead, but what will ordinary folk notice?

"Bills, for sure, strikes almost certainly; but I think it’ll be in the National Health Service that many of us feel the trouble first.

"There’s flu and even now Covid hasn’t vanished.

"Waiting lists for hospital treatment rose to a record 7 million in England in September and that once-famous 18-week treatment target hasn't been met for six years.

"Nurses have voted to strike. It really does look bleak.

"Meanwhile, we have a Chancellor in Jeremy Hunt who has been Health Secretary.

"Remember what he told us on the day of his autumn statement, allocating more than £3 billion a year more to the NHS  - an emergency top-up."

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm

Andrew Marr looks forward to the 'bleak' winter ahead for the NHS.

Andrew continued: "But what kind of reforms to health are possible and politically sellable?

"We got a preview of what isn't, when earlier in the week it was revealed that Scottish NHS leaders had privately discussed abandoning the principle of free universal healthcare and making richer patients pay for treatment.

"If you can afford to pay, you must.

"That idea was immediately disowned by Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon and by Westminster politicians.

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

"It was reported, meanwhile, that the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, was registered with a private GP practice, charging £250 for half-hour consultations, including appointments in the evening and at weekends.

"But after all the noise and smoke, the question remains; with the NHS, in the words of the Labour leader Keir Starmer, not on its knees but flat on its face, and with limited extra public funds, what are the options?"