A Tory MP who sparked fury by insisting A&E patients should wait longer than four hours has previously suggested the NHS should charge for smoking, obesity and alcohol-related illnesses
A Tory MP who sparked fury by insisting that A&E patients should wait longer than four hours to be seen has previously suggested the NHS should charge for smoking, obesity and alcohol-related illnesses.
MP and GP Phillip Lee made the front page of the Daily Mirror today for saying that “there are a number of people in A&E who should be waiting more than four hours”.
He also said the four-hour waiting time was part of a “target culture” inherited from Labour and suggested that David Cameron had slashed funding for mental health services to divert cash to struggling A&Es.
He told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire yesterday:
“There have been difficult decisions made on funding because we have inherited a target culture of saying we’ve to meet four-hour targets in A&E.
“Personally, I think there are a number of people in A&E who should be waiting more than four hours, okay?”
It’s now emerged that back in 2012 Mr Lee also suggested those who eat junk food should pay for treatment before soaring costs bankrupt the NHS.
“If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fine, but there’s a cost,” Mr Lee told an Institute of Economic Affairs briefing.
He also suggested that people with recognised medical conditions such as diabetes shouldn’t be entitled to free prescription drugs:
“The current situation, when diabetics and people with an under-active thyroid are entitled to all drugs to be free is just indefensible, plainly daft. There is scope here to reduce or flatten out the health care budget.”
The revelations are likely to feed accusations that the Conservatives can’t be trusted with the NHS.
Under the Tory-led coalition, hospital A&E departments have missed the NHS’s target for 95 per cent of people to be seen within four hours for 92 weeks in a row. In total the number of patients waiting longer than four hours in A&E has risen by over 300 per cent since 2009/10.
James Bloodworth is the editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on TwitterLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.