Jeremy Hunt Insists The NHS Is NOT In Crisis
3 January 2018, 17:00 | Updated: 3 January 2018, 17:02
Jeremy Hunt says there's not a crisis in the NHS, because there's a plan to deal with "extreme pressure" which has seen tens of thousands of operations postponed in England.
Non urgent procedures and some outpatient appointments have been cancelled until at least next month to help A&E departments cope with winter demand.
But, during an interview with LBC on Wednesday, the Health Secretary would not be drawn into calling the situation a “crisis” as there was a “clear plan” in place.
Speaking to Iain Dale, Mr Hunt said: “A crisis is when something goes wrong and you don’t have a plan.
“We do have a plan and we’ve been planning for this for a very long time.
“The difference between this year and last year was that we had these horrific pressures in January which we’ve always had… and we had to cancel people’s operations at the very last minute.
“So people got a call the day before saying ‘sorry you can’t come in to have your knee replaced, we’ve got a problem with our A&E'.
“We’re saying actually we want to do this in a measured, structured way so we set up an independent group of very senior doctors who look at the latest information, the pressures in the system, what’s happening with flu and so on.
He added: “There’s a great desire to get politicians to issue certain words, if you want me to say there’s ‘extreme pressure’ then I will.
“But the reason I don’t use the word ‘crisis’ is because we have a very clear plan, we’ve been thinking about this for a very long time and we are activating that plan.”
The MP for South West Surrey also paid tribute to the NHS staff working in “very tough conditions”.
Echoing Theresa May, he added: “It is incredibly tough, I completely agree with what the Prime Minister has said about how brilliant the NHS staff have been.”