UK Prime Minister calls for emergency meeting to discuss health sector dossier
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday gathered government ministers and directors of medical staff and health services at 10 Downing Street for talks to tackle a health crisis that has left thousands of patients stranded outside overcrowded hospitals.
The government said it was “bringing together the best minds from the health and care sectors to share information and practical solutions”.
The opposition Labor Party dismissed the gathering, calling it a “talking shop”, and experts warned there were no quick fixes to the longstanding problems of the state-funded NHS.
The health system in the UK is under severe pressure, including increased demand for healthcare following the easing of restrictions to combat the pandemic, increased infections with influenza and other winter viruses after a two-year shutdown, staff shortages due to epidemic exhaustion and the disappearance of European jobs in the UK after its exit from the Union.
Thousands of hospital beds are occupied by people who are eligible for discharge but have nowhere to go because of a lack of long-term care space.
Official figures show that a third of the patients discharged had already left a hospital in England in the past week.
This has resulted in ambulances being parked in front of hospitals with patients who cannot be admitted and people with health emergencies having to wait hours for ambulances to arrive.
Health leaders say the delays are likely to have resulted in hundreds of deaths.
Additionally, a cost-of-living crisis, exacerbated by rising food and energy bills, has meant some healthcare workers are struggling to make ends meet.
Nurses and paramedics have been on strike in the largest wave of strikes the country has seen in decades.
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