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Alex challenges Health Secretary on staffing levels


Stockton North’s Labour Member of Parliament, Alex Cunningham, has challenged the Secretary of State for Health to reinstate the thousands of NHS staff lost since the Coalition Government came to power.

Following the statement on hospital trusts places in special measures because of poor performance, Alex highlighted that staffing has been cut significantly under the current Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and pointed out that these reductions have been central to falling levels of care.

Over 4,000 nurses have been lost nationally since David Cameron became Prime Minister, and the resulting staffing shortages could leave A&E Departments overstretched.  These cuts are making it harder to maintain the services that local people rely on, and experts are warning that services across the country could fail by the winter if urgent action isn’t taken.

Alex said:

“Several times the Secretary of State has admitted that staffing cut drastically on his watch is a major factor in deteriorating care in the NHS – an NHS that has been in the charge of the Conservative Party for more than three years.”

Alex went on to ask what plans the Health Secretary had to restore staffing levels, though was met with the usual response of claims that frontline staffing has increased since 2010.

Following Health Questions, Alex said:

“I challenged the Secretary of State to commit to restoring confidence in, and within, the NHS by reinstating the thousands of nurses that have been cut under this Tory-led Coalition.

“Despite needing to place 11 hospital trusts into special measures due to major failings, which resulted from factors such as staffing problems, poor care and weak leadership, all that the Health Secretary could talk about was claims that frontline staffing has increased.

“Unfortunately, this is not the reality on the ground, where services are deteriorating and public confidence has been dented by a series of scandals and under-performance.”