Sunak said the additional funding to relieve pressure on hospital emergencies and boost ambulance calls would allow for “improving ambulance times as we recover from the pandemic and the stress of this winter”.
The prime minister was responding to Labor leader Keir Starmer, who has denounced long waiting times in several English cities, including Plymouth, where Sunak is from.
Starmer challenged Sunak to “stop making excuses, stop blaming others, stop playing political games and just say: when are these delays going to be resolved”.
During approximately 40 minutes that these sessions [no Parlamento] Tend to continue, 700 people will call an ambulance, two will be declared a heart attack, and four will be declared a stroke. Instead of the quick help they need, many will wait and wait and wait.”
The criticism of the main opposition party leader over the problems of Britain’s National Health Service coincides with the start of a two-day strike by nurses over pay and working conditions.
Two 12-hour strikes today and Thursday will affect around 25% of hospitals and health centers in England, causing thousands of appointments and procedures to be cancelled, despite protections for emergency care and cancer treatment.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) consortium initially asked for a 19% increase to compensate for the loss of purchasing power in recent years, exacerbated by inflation, but admitted to staying at half the value. The government is willing to pay only 5%.
Writing in The Independent, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “An unsustainable increase in wages will mean less care for the sick and more inflation that will make us all poorer.”
UK inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% in October, driven by sharp increases in energy and food costs, but eased slightly to 10.5% in December.
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal, said the union had “provided an olive branch, in fact the whole tree, to the government”, and urged the reopening of negotiations, threatening new strikes in February.
Nurses must join ambulance crews to stop.
The government has angered unions by introducing a proposed law that would make it difficult for essential workers to strike by setting “minimum safety standards” for firefighters, ambulance services and railways.
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