Jeremy Hunt insists NHS is Government's 'top priority' despite bed crisis

Jeremy Hunt's department has issued a statement

Jeremy Hunt's department has issued a statement

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Government has said the NHS is its "top priority" as the crisis in the health service continues.

The newly expanded Department of Health and Social Care, led by Jeremy Hunt, issued a statement after reports that NHS trusts had to provide 5,075 extra beds on January 2 to cope with demand - equivalent to nine average-sized hospitals - due to chronic supply problems.

A letter has been sent to the Prime Minister, signed by 68 senior A&E doctors, warning that patients are having to sleep in make-shift wards set up in side rooms, while trolley waits of up to 12 hours are common.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We know the NHS is extremely busy, which is why it was given top priority in the recent Budget with an extra £2.8bn allocated over the next two years.

"Despite the extra pressure that comes with winter, including rising flu levels, hardworking staff treated 55,328 people within four hours every single day in December - 1,272 more each day than in the same month the previous year.

"The Government also supported the NHS this winter with an additional £437million of funding."