Downing Street says NHS is receiving funding it needs despite Royal College of Emergency Medicine saying ministers are in denial
Earlier today the vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said ministers were in denial over the extent of problems facing hospital A&E departments. (See 11.19am.) At the Downing Street lobby briefing this morning the prime minister’s spokesperson tried to avoid sounding complacent, but he did claim the NHS has the funding it needs this winter. He told journalists:
We are confident we are providing the NHS with the funding it needs, as we did throughout the pandemic, to deal with these issues …
We have been upfront with the public, long in advance of this winter, that, because of the pandemic and the pressures it’s placed in the backlog of cases, that this would be an extremely challenging winter. And that is what we are seeing.
We have continued to put billions of pounds of additional funding into the NHS – £7.5bn for adult social care and for delayed discharge over the next two years. And there’s £14.1bn in additional funding to improve urgent and emergency care and tackle the backlogs.
This is certainly an unprecedented challenge for the NHS, brought about by a number of factors.
Could Johnson really win a parliamentary ballot? Or might Conservative members impose him on unwilling Tory MPs (which proved less than successful in the case of Truss)? Above all, is it likely that he would stand in the first place? For all his reputation for recklessness, Johnson has a prudent streak. Both last year and in 2016 he decided not to stand, bruising the feelings of some of those who had invested hope in his candidacy …
It’s possible that a reinstalled Johnson could confound his critics, as he has done so many times before, and win the Conservatives a fifth term. Let Sunak do the hard work, Johnsonians will say – the tax rises, the spending cuts. Then their man can breeze in with his unquenchable optimism, cut taxes and cheer Britain up. Really?