John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, made the clam in a tweet on Sunday despite long-running concerns about personnel shortages in the health service.
The MP wrote: “Why not open and staff all the Nightingale hospital capacity they need for CV 19 cases and get the rest of the NHS back to full capacity for everything else?
“No need to scare us with the idea the NHS will not cope.”
Why not open and staff all the Nightingale hospital capacity they need for CV 19 cases and get the rest of the NHS back to full capacity for everything else? No need to scare us with the idea the NHS will not cope.
— John Redwood (@johnredwood) November 29, 2020
According to a recent report by The Kings Fund, there is currently a shortfall of just under 84,000 workers across NHS hospitals, mental health services and community providers.
The report blamed “a prolonged funding squeeze combined with years of poor workforce planning, weak policy and fragmented responsibilities” while the Tories have been in power for the “workforce crisis”.
This has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as frontline health workers catch Covid-19 or are forced to self-isolate. Earlier this month it was reported 30,000 NHS staff were off as the country braced itself for the second wave of the virus.
Redwood’s tweet was met with widespread disbelief.
It’s genuinely staggering & angry-making that you’re this ignorant of the vast NHS shortage of staffing. You’ve been an MP for 30 years & this is the level you’re at? (Particularly given it’s a problem that’s only increased during the past decade of your party’s tenure)
— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) November 29, 2020
Staffed by who exactly? Last I heard there are 28,000 NHS staff off with Covid , isolating or off because children sent back from school. Where are the highly trained ICU nurses going to come from ? https://t.co/ivoZoJoyHg
— Mark Austin (@markaustintv) November 29, 2020
Because we don't have enough trained staff due to 10 years of you underfunding the NHS, you fucking simpleton. https://t.co/hSNANjxjel
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) November 29, 2020
Well John. You see, they need trained staff. https://t.co/SSupzWv1Wt
— Deborah Meaden (@DeborahMeaden) November 29, 2020
Redwood has been contacted for comment.
Never the one to waste the opportunity of using five words when two will do, the PM used a series of obscure war references to warn of the potential “disastrous consequences for the NHS”.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.