Tuesday 5 November 2019 4:21 am

DEBATE: Can the Tories win on the NHS?

Lauren McEvatt is managing director of Morpeth Consulting, and a former government adviser.
Sonia Adesara
Sonia Adesara is a GP registrar working in London.

Can the Tories win on the NHS?

Lauren McEvatt, a former Wales Office special adviser and managing director at Morpeth Consulting, says YES.

The Tories can win on the NHS, because the Tories can win in Wales.

Yesterday’s Welsh Barometer poll has the Conservatives on track to gain nine seats from Labour. The success of the Tory message there is, in part, down to the “compare and contrast” agenda, designed to compare the 20-year history of Labour’s poor running of the NHS in Wales, which has continued its track record of delivering woeful results, with the better results from the Conservative-run NHS in England.

This argument hasn’t changed in the last 10 years – which was, incidentally, the last time the Welsh NHS met either its 95 per cent target on four-hour waits in A&E or the 95 per cent target for patients moving from cancer diagnosis to treatment within 62 days.

The Conservatives are working hard to challenge the scaremongering that they plan to “privatise” the NHS and sell it to the evil Americans, and they should continue to do so. But by pointing to the Welsh Labour government’s inability to deliver basic public services, the Tories can demonstrate that the real risk to the health service comes not from them, but from Jeremy Corbyn.

Sonia Adesara, a GP registrar working in London, says NO.

“Record funding for the NHS”, “the NHS is safe in our hands” – as predicted, the sloganeering has started already.

Dominic Cummings’ not-so-cunning plan to put the NHS at the forefront of the Conservative election campaign will work brilliantly – as long as the voter hasn’t seen the news, visited a hospital, or been unwell in the past decade.

It will work as long as the voter hasn’t been denied a GP appointment due to the fact that 100 practices are closing every year, nor had to wait six hours in A&E (the longest waits on record), nor seen a relative with cancer suffer, as their treatment has been delayed. As long as they’re not one of the 80,000 people who have had their operation cancelled this year due to staff shortages or faulty equipment, nor a parent who has been told that their seriously unwell child has to wait over six months to see a specialist.

This week, we have heard that Number 10’s response to the NHS election crisis is to recruit more NHS spin doctors. Unfortunately for Cummings, reality cuts through rhetoric.

The Tories track record speaks for itself.

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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