‘Nothing is perfect’ – May roundly derided for NHS comments
Politicians have blasted the PM for her diagnosis of the world-famous healthcare system, following her Sunday appearance on the BBC’s 'Andrew Marr' show.
May followed up the interview, in which she was forced to defend the Conservative record on national health, with a tweet which acknowledged problems.
“The NHS is delivering for people, it is treating more people and more people are being seen within the four hours every day. But of course, nothing is perfect. And there is more for us to do. #Marr,” she wrote.
However, her ‘frank’ approach did not go down well and rival politicians immediately circled.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper launched a scathing attack on the prime minister, stating: "Nothing is perfect. Nothing is perfect. FFS. Who is asking for perfection, PM? We just want our NHS saved from crisis your Govt caused; enough doctors, nurses & investment so patients don't sleep on hospital floor, have all winter ops cancelled or die waiting for emergency care.”
Members of the public also picked up on the tweet. One man said: “May defends handling of NHS amid winter crisis: 'Nothing is perfect'. Presumably she means ‘when we privatise the service, my friends will make some money.’"
While NHS staff also waded in. Dr Lauren Gavaghan wrote: “Sick people, having to wait & be treated on trolleys as there are *no beds* Why? Because your govt has cut so many. These are your voters –is this what they deserve?”
On the pre-recorded BBC show, May was told about the case of Leah Butler Smith whose mother waited five hours for stroke treatment in Essex.
The veteran presenter also spoke of his own illness, saying his 2013 stroke could have been fatal if he had it this year, because of the issues crippling the service.
May replied: “Well obviously you've raised an individual case with me which I haven't seen the details of and I – I recognise that people have concerns if they have experience of that sort. If we look at what is happening across the NHS what we see is that actually the NHS is delivering for more people, it is treating more people and more people are being seen within the four hours every day than has been in the – a few years ago."
“But of course nothing's perfect and there is more for us to do.”
At least 21 NHS trusts issued social media alerts on New Year’s Day, urging the public to stay away from Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments. Patients were urged to steer clear of critical care services, and to come to hospital only with life-threatening conditions.
One patient reported waiting for a hospital bed for 18 hours, and all non-critical surgeries have been cancelled until February as a result.
The crisis drew apologies from both May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Despite the crisis, which has become an annual event, May saw fit to expand Hunt’s responsibilities in her Monday cabinet reshuffle, with social care being added to his brief.