NHS becomes political football as electioneering kicks offBMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6375 (Published 05 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6375
- Abi Rimmer,
- Gareth Iacobucci
- The BMJ
The UK election season kicked off last weekend amid what is already shaping up to be a hard fought match between the country’s two bitterest rivals. Almost immediately, NHS leaders called on politicians not to use the NHS as a “political football”—a familiar call during UK general elections.
But when the whistle blew, Labour immediately went on the attack against the Conservatives by revealing the results of a freedom of information request that they said showed a big increase in the number of cancelled operations. Between April 2018 and March 2019 a total of 78 981 elective and urgent operations in England were cancelled, the data showed—less than in 2017-18 (81 565) but more than in 2016-17 (74 170). Staffing problems and equipment failures were responsible for more than 15 000 cancelled operations last year, Labour said.
Perhaps sensing an …