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Theresa May must get a grip on the NHS, Corbyn urges

The NHS dominated the leaders’ exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (PA)

Jeremy Corbyn drew upon Professor Stephen Hawking’s NHS concerns as he urged the Prime Minister to “get a grip” on services in England.

The Labour leader and Mrs May paid tribute to the renowned British physicist, who died at the age of 76, during a Prime Minister’s Questions dominated by the NHS.

Mr Corbyn accused the PM of “scaremongering” over services in Wales before telling the Commons: “When people are dying because of overcrowding and long waits in our hospitals, I think the Prime Minister should get a grip on it and ensure the NHS now has the money it needs to deal with the patient demands.”

He pressed the PM to increase pay for NHS staff and ensure “proper funding” for the health service.

Mr Corbyn then quoted Professor Hawking’s remarks from August 2017, in which he warned there is “overwhelming evidence that NHS funding and the numbers of doctors and nurses are inadequate, and it’s getting worse”.

The Opposition leader added: “Does she agree with Professor Hawking?”

Mrs May defended the Government’s NHS spending approach and recruitment record for doctors and nurses, adding: “Why did we put an emphasis on doctors working in our wards? Because of what we saw under the Labour government in Mid Staffordshire.”

Earlier, the PM focused on the Welsh Labour Government’s health service record and told MPs: “The latest annual data shows, when we’re looking at 12-hour waits in A&E, that 3.4% of patients waited over 12 hours in Wales compared to 1.3% in England.

“If he wants to talk about meeting targets, he should talk to a Labour government in Wales.”

Mr Corbyn replied: “NHS England abandoned its A&E targets until April 2019. It’s a bit rich for the Prime Minister to be scaremongering about Wales while she’s abandoned the targets in England.”

He also told PMQs: “A recent NAO (National Audit Office) report states that NHS funding will fall by 0.3% in 2019.

“People’s lives are at stake. Is the Prime Minister really saying that A&E doctors are wrong, NHS managers are wrong, royal colleges are wrong, health unions are wrong, and actually it’s only she who knows best about the NHS?”

The Labour leader earlier questioned why a man who has lived in the UK for 44 years is “being denied cancer treatment”, with Mrs May saying she looks forward to receiving the details of the case.

She went on: “May I just though take this opportunity of reminding him that I think he raised a case about Georgina with me last October and hasn’t written to me about that particular case.”

Mr Corbyn said he understood Georgina’s case was resolved before the PM was needed to do anything about it after he raised it in the Commons, noting: “Well if nothing else it proves the power of Parliament.”

Press Association

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