Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey will today outline plans from the Conservative government to cut patients’ waiting times to see their GP to just two weeks as well as a number of other measures in order to ease the pressure on the NHS. BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt, therefore, heard from Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting for his Party’s verdict on the plans – and it’s safe to say the opposing MP wasn’t too impressed with the plans.
Stayt put to Streeting the fact that Coffey and the Conservative government are looking to limit GP wait times to just two weeks.
Streeting pulled no punches as he branded it a “disgrace” to present the plans as “good news”, before adding: “When Labour was in government, we guaranteed GP appointments within two days, within 48 hours.”
The BBC Breakfast then asked what exactly the problem was to suggest a two-week waiting time given it’d be an improvement on the current state of affairs, to which Streeting replied he’d have “more confidence” if Coffey had presented reports on dealing with the staffing crisis.
He then referred to the previous Labour government once more, adding: “We reduced waiting times from 18 months to just 18 weeks on average, the lowest waiting times in history.
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“That led to the highest patient satisfaction in history,” he went on before slamming: “I think people are running out of patience and the government is running out of time.”
He added another putdown of the current regime by slamming: “I’m afraid after 12 years, expecting the Conservatives to deal with this is a bit like asking an arsonist to put out the fire they created – it’s not gonna happen!”
Stayt, however, was quick to pull Streeting up on his comments by pointing out the vast differences between the time Labour were last in power compared to now.
Hitting back at the Shadow Health Secretary’s remarks, Stayt pointed out: “I notice you mentioned Labour’s time in government several times already.
Instead, the pair ended up talking over one another until Streeting eventually said he’d be able to supply more clarity next week.
And this floundering didn’t go unnoticed by fans at home, who shared their thoughts on the interview.
Twitter user @Iaink85 fumed: “Hey @wesstreeting: how hard is it to say ‘yes, I think Labour would be spending more than the Tories are now, but also we would put a much bigger focus on primary care and social care so that hospitals can have their loads lifted’. Would that be making up policy? #BBCBreakfast.”
And @Lourowson77 similarly fumed: “Wes Streeting, says the usual things. Everything was wonderful under Labour. It is a wonder they have not been permanently in power, ain’t it, more of the Cloud Cuckoland they live in, because it is over a decade ago he thinks we don’t remember it.”
Cristoir Toibin echoed: “Will you invest more in #NHS @wesstreeting? Why did you not just say YES it is easy, awful look when you are not straightforward with us, just looks like the #Tories – #Labour need to be totally different from the #Cons #BBCBreakfast.”
While @BlanesChil shared their frustrations: “@wesstreeting Ah, ffs. Doing ok until on bbc breakfast until failure to say a simple ‘yes’ – Labour would spend more on the NHS than Tories are now. Ppl understand that’s needed. Say it, clearly.”
And @Scottishlass71 brutally slammed: “@BBCBreakfast omg @wesstreeting talking (s**t) as usual. Labour was last in power 12 years ago things have drastically changed across the world. To say what Labour did is not applicable. Where are all this extra staff coming from?” (sic)
BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC one.