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220714 | NHS in worst state in 74 years thanks to Tory management, says former Lib Dem MP

NHS in worst state in 74 years thanks to Tory management, says former Lib Dem MP

26 ambulances were again spotted queuing outside ED at Treliske this week

Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital

Former St Ives Lib Dem MP Andrew George has accused the Conservative Government of running the NHS into the ground (Image: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

The NHS is in the worst state it has been in its 74-year history, a former Cornish MP has claimed in a scathing attack on the Conservative Government. Andrew George, the former MP for St Ives, said the Tories are to blame for the state of the country's hospital and health and social care services.

The housing campaigner said the closure of several community hospitals in Cornwall - including Edward Hain in St Ives and Poltair in Penzance - happened on the Tories' watch.

He said: "I intended to ask a question at our full Cornwall Council meeting (Tuesday July 12), but there's so little time for effective scrutiny in that dysfunctional and straitjacketed forum, I was unable to do so. Instead, valuable time was taken up to allow the leader to congratulate herself and her party, to greenwash themselves, to praise Conservative councillors, including for their extramural activities. But of course we weren't allowed to ask her any questions.


Read more: Royal Cornwall Hospital declares 'critical incident' again as bed blocking means ambulances stack up outside A&E


"So, the worst health and care crisis to face Cornwall in decades went by without a single murmur of concern or comment during the three and a half hour meeting of its primary democratic plenary. This is a scandal. How can this happen? I think we all know the answer. But the cause goes back to the outcome of elections in recent years."

The scathing attack happened the day after Cornwall's main hospital once again declared a 'critical incident' following delays in discharging patients due to bed blocking. A spokesperson for Cornwall's largest hospital told CornwallLive about the escalation on Tuesday, July 12, after reports that ambulances were queueing up outside with emergency patients waiting to be seen.

The hospital, at Treliske, Truro, was forced to escalate its alert level this high several times in the last few years. Most notoriously, it did so at the outset of the Covid pandemic and in October last year when its emergency department became swamped with patients.

Mr George said that 26 ambulances queuing outside was sadly no longer unusual but that means that patients are left untreated outside the doors of the hospital because someone inside who is fit enough to be discharged cannot leave because there is no package of care for them.

Andrew George, the former MP for St Ives

Andrew George, the former MP for St Ives

The issue of seamlessly integrating social care and healthcare is why Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group has now given way to a new Integrated Care System whose aim will be to bring together organisations involved in health and social care across Cornwall, from hospitals, councils and other social care providers, to help reduce the number of bed-blockers in hospital and ensure that people do not end up queuing outside emergency departments when they should not be there in the first place.

Speaking days before the launch of the new organisation, its new boss Kate Shields said queues of ambulances waiting for hours outside Cornwall’s main hospital are a stain on the NHS that no one is proud of.

Mr George added: "I happen to agree with the words of Cornwall Council 's leader when she opened the new Tory council last year. There is compelling logic behind her assertion that if one party runs the Government, holds all six of Cornwall's MP constituencies and runs the local authority, that party ought to be able to command the resources and capacity to ensure Cornwall gets a really good deal and that its essential services should be safe.

"Well, the conservatives have all of that power. But look at the state of our NHS and social care. Why has it got to this state? Yet they have nothing to say. Most of them are in hiding or trying to avoid facing questions. We can't carry on like this. If they aren't up to the job they should stand aside."

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