Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been criticised by the opposition over his decision not to recall Parliament to discuss the NHS crisis. Health officials have warned up to 500 people are dying each week due to delays in the service. Parliament is due to return from their recess on Monday, January 9, but Express.co.uk readers argue this should have been brought forward.
Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper slammed Mr Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay for being “nowhere to be seen” during the crisis and urged the Government to declare a major incident.
She said: “This is a national crisis and the country will never forgive the Government if they refuse to recall Parliament.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said the situation with the NHS was “completely inexplicable” and told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that the NHS was “actively deterring” people from going to A&E “because they are overwhelmed”.
The Doctors’ Association UK wrote to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, calling for MPs to return, writing: “The NHS is broken. Patients are dying and staff are suffering moral injury from the appalling conditions. We are desperately in need of meaningful action from our leaders and this cannot wait.
“We therefore call on the government to immediately recall members of parliament from their Christmas recess to the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate on the state of the NHS.”
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In a poll that ran from 10.30am on Thursday, January 5, to 10.30am on Friday, January 6, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Rishi Sunak recall Parliament over NHS chaos?”
Overall, 1,774 readers cast their votes with the vast majority, 76 percent (1,353 people) answering “yes” in support of Parliament returning from recess earlier.
In contrast, 23 percent (410 people) said “no” Mr Sunak should not recall Parliament to help manage the NHS crisis, and a further 11 people said they did not know either way.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on the Government’s response to the NHS chaos.
Mr Barclay has blamed the “massive pressure” on the NHS on high cases of flu, Covid, and fears about Strep A. He said the situation was not acceptable and that structural issues within the service needed to be addressed.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government had warned the public in advance that this winter would be “extremely challenging” in the NHS because of the fall-out from the pandemic and the backlog of cases.
During his first speech of the year, Mr Sunak outlined five promises he wants the public to judge his premiership on. As part of this, he pledged to prove that the service is a priority by cutting NHS waiting lists.
He said: “We all share the same objective when it comes to the NHS: to continue providing high quality, responsive healthcare for generations to come. And that’s what we are going to deliver. Our vision of change will revitalise every aspect of our lives – better jobs, stronger communities, world-class education, an NHS built around patients.”