17:00 Jeremy Hunt stopped short of saying he would be happy to have his family cared for at any NHS hospital during an interview with ITV where he denied that the health services was facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’.
Following the news that the Red Cross has been working to deliver core services in some of the NHS’s most stretched hospitals the health secretary conceded pressures had been particularly acute in some areas.
He told ITV: ‘I think it’s very important [ITV] viewers understand, I would be happy to send a member of my family to the vast majority of NHS hospitals.’
When challenged that this excluded those on high alert, he said: ‘All hospitals have periods where pressure gets higher. What we’ve seen this Christmas period is a few hospitals which have had very sustained and difficult problems, particularly Worcestershire.’
16:00 The BBC is reporting that London Ambulance Service is investigating whether an IT problem on New Year’s Day may have contributed to the death of a patient.
BBC news found that a death occured while computers were down, and an LAS investigation is being carried out to determine the problems and the full impact on patients.
LAS director of operations Paul Woodrow said: ’We’re very sorry to anyone who experienced delays.’
The computer-aided dispatch system, which logs emergencies and allocates ambulances, failed just after midnight.
13:05 GPs are dropping like snowflakes, according to Radio 4’s Today show host John Humphrys, who questioned how Jeremy Hunt proposed to staff his commitment to seven day, eight to eight GP services in London.
He said: ‘You can’t train all those extra GPs, GPs are dropping out of the system like snowflakes.’
And when the health secretary warned Mr Humphrys to be ‘careful’ with his choice of language, the broadcaster said that he had seen it happening.
Hunt challenged this saying: ‘In the last parliament we actually had a 5% increase in GPs, this parliament we’re planning the second biggest increase in GPs in the history of the NHS.’
However an official report by the NHS’s information centre, NHS Digital, last year showed full-time GP numbers fell 2% last year and education bosses have twice missed their mandate target to recruit 3,500 GP trainees.
9:40 Prime Minister Theresa May has said she does not accept there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the NHS.
Pulse reported on Friday that the Red Cross had been deployed to help in NHS trusts, with the chief executive warning it was a ‘humanitarian crisis’.
But the PM told Sky News on Sunday that the ‘huge pressures’ in the health system were being recognised.
She said: ’I don’t accept the description the Red Cross has made of this.
’Yes there are huge pressures on the NHS, but first of all we should thank all the dedicated professionals in the NHS who have been working so hard over what is always a difficult period in terms of the number of people using the NHS – the Christmas and New Year period.’
She added: ’Yes there are significant pressures, but we recognise those pressures.
’We asked the NHS a while back to set out what it needed over the next five years in terms of its plan for the future and the funding that it would need.
’They did that, we gave them that funding, in fact we gave them more funding than they required. So funding is now at record levels for the NHS, more money has been going in.’
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