Andy Burnham MP
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to reports on the Health Select Committee report on the crisis in A&Es, said:
“Labour has repeatedly warned David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt about the building pressure in A&E but he has failed to get a grip on the problem. After this damning report, they can’t keep blaming everyone else.
“As the Select Committee makes clear, the crisis in A&E is the result of a number of Government policies. The loss of nursing jobs, severe cuts to social care and the continuing failure of the 111 service are all combining to maintain the pressure on A&E.
“We have a Government that is quick to blame hospitals for everything but slow to face up to problems of their own making. Hospitals are not responsible for the 111 debacle and cuts to social care but are picking up the pieces.
“Ministers can’t say they weren’t warned about problems in recruiting A&E consultants. As the President of the College of Emergency Medicine acknowledges, progress was being made. But then came a top-down re-organisation which took focus off the front-line and re-directed resources to redundancy payments while training places were cut.
“If Hunt fails to act, we are looking at another winter of patients left on trolleys, ambulance queues and A&E in crisis. People won’t tolerate his blame-shifting any longer. He should save his excuses, accept this report and act without to delay to relieve pressure on A&E.”