Prime minister Theresa May 'proud' of government record on NHS

Theresa May has told MPs she is 'proud' of her government's record on the NHS at the first prime minister's question time debate ahead of the 8 June general election.

The comments came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged the prime minister over NHS funding, and accused the Conservatives of breaking manifesto promises.

Ms May's comments also came just a day after BMA chair Dr Mark Porter hit out over the ongoing crisis facing the health service, warning that successive governments have been 'in denial' over the state of the health service. Dr Porter warned that years of underfunding had created an NHS in which 'our hospitals and GP surgeries are full and social care is on its knees'.

Mr Corbyn told the House of Commons on Wednesday: 'For the first time in its history NHS funding per patient will fall this year. The NHS has been put into an all-year-round crisis by this government.

'Why are more people wating in pain and millions of elderly people not getting the care and dignity they deserve?'

NHS funding

Ms May said: 'I'm proud of the record we have on the NHS. We see more doctors, more nurses, more midwives, more GPs, more people being treated in our NHS last year than ever before and record levels of funding going into our NHS.

'You only can do that with a strong economy. What do we know we would get from the Labour party - bankruptcy and chaos.'

But Mr Corbyn hit out at the 'broken promise of the Tory manifesto that said they would continue to spend more on the NHS in real terms'.

'Say that to those waiting in A&E departments, say that to those waiting in hospital because they can't get out because social care isn't available,' he said.

Following the announcement by Ms May on Tuesday that a snap general election would go ahead on 8 June subject to a vote in parliament, the BMA warned that the ongoing NHS crisis must not be marginalised by discussions about Brexit.

NHS crisis

The crisis in the health service saw scores of NHS hospitals unable to maintain comprehensive care or where patient flow was compromised over the first six weeks of 2017.

GP leaders have warned that the overall NHS budget is insufficient, and that general practice remains billions of pounds short of the investment it needs to maintain services despite plans for funding set out in the GP Forward View.

The 'Next Steps' policy document published at the end of last month by NHS England also set out plans to relax the 18-week waiting time target for non-urgent operations. The NHS Constitution, which sets out what patients have a right to expect from the health service, guarantees a 'right for patients to start consultant-led non-emergency treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks of a GP referral'.

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