Theresa May hit by furious Tory revolt over proposed health and social care shakeup

Posted On: 
22nd January 2018

Angry Conservative MPs have lashed out at Theresa May over her response to a proposed shakeup over health and social care planning.

The Prime Minister took weeks to respond to MPs
PA images

Some 90 MPs sent a letter to the Prime Minister in November saying a cross-party convention should be set up to discuss the future of NHS and social care spending.

But she replied only this week with a response appearing to bat the proposal away - prompting furious rebukes from a string of Tory MPs.

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She said: "I would like to assure you that the Government recognises the challenges facing the NHS and care sector, and we are committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the NHS and adult social care...

"We are committed to engaging with all parties on key issues and I have asked the Secretary of State for Health to write to you to outline our plans moving forward."

A number of outspoken MPs - including Tory Health Select Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston - took to Twitter to hit back at the "disappointing" and delayed response.

Dr Wollaston fumed: "The response lacks ambition. We need a clear understanding from PM that NHS, public health & social care are inextricably linked and urgency of the need to review current & long term funding as a single system."

She added: "Any measures that are proposed by a single political party will inevitably be trashed as ‘death tax’ ‘dementia tax’ ...or whatever. What is needed is a grown up debate & action or we will get nowhere because any proposals blocked in a hung Parliament."

Former housing minister Nick Boles, who has survived two bouts of cancer, said he shared the "disappointment" over the response.

“This is not a time for business as usual on funding of NHS and social care,” he said. 

Backbencher Heidi Allen criticised the length of time it had taken for the Prime Minister to reply and said the letter “was not good enough”.

“Our Prime Minister needs to prove she can deal with the biggest challenge of our time and now,” Ms Allen said.

Another Conservative MP, Johnny Mercer, said the letter was “a disappointing response”.

He tweeted: “This is the issue of our generation of politicians regardless of how it ‘polls’ in focus groups. Like Defence, there are some challenges Government of the day must meet, or face reality check at the ballot box.”

Other MPs who signed the original letter - including Lib Dem Norman Lamb and Labour MP Liz Kendal - were also left fuming at the response.

The health service has suffered unprecedented demand this winter as doctors juggle an ageing population and virulent strains of flu.

Last week the National Audit Office warned NHS bailouts could become “the new normal” after it found NHS bodies used extra funds partly intended to transform services to shore up finances during 2016-17.