'I've never seen the NHS under as much pressure as it is now', says Nuffield Trust Chief

21 December 2022, 15:13

Helen Buckingham and Shelagh Fogarty hold the government to account

Madeleine Wilson

By Madeleine Wilson

Nuffield Trust's Strategy Director, Helen Buckingham, discusses the extent to which "political negligence" has led to the ongoing NHS strikes.

Nuffield Trust's Helen Buckingham's call with Shelagh Fogarty comes after Secretary for State for Health Steve Barclay's claim that “ambulance unions have taken a conscious choice to inflict harm on patients".

Helen Buckingham said to Shelagh: "In my 30-year career I've not seen the NHS under as much pressure as it is now."

It comes as tens of thousands of NHS workers have gone on strike in two separate disputes over pay, with ambulance workers the latest to walk out on Wednesday.

Royal College of Nursing members walked out on Tuesday again over a pay dispute which is the second day of the industrial dispute following last Thursday's strike.

Read more: Furious Nick Ferrari accuses Health Secretary of 'day of shame' over ambulance strikes

Helen Buckingham and Shelagh Fogarty weigh in on the NHS strikes

She told Shelagh: "The most stark of the latest statistics is that in the week starting 21st of November, 24,000 people waited for more than half an hour in the back of an ambulance before they could even get into the emergency department so it's very real."

Helen later said the expectation is if people should need treatment they should be "seen and treated" and discharged home within "four hours".

She said: "We have not met that standard in England since 2015, so this is a pressure that's been building for quite some time."

Read more: James O’Brien is moved by paramedic who calls out culture of concealing struggle within NHS

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