Theresa May forced into Commons climbdown over Welsh NHS claims

Posted On: 
6th February 2018

Theresa May has been forced into a climbdown over claims she made in the Commons about Labour's handling of the NHS in Wales.

Theresa May made the claims at PMQs last month.
PA Images

The Prime Minister had to issue a clarification after being rapped by the head of the UK Statistics Authority.

In a letter published yesterday, Sir David Norgrove said Mrs May's jibes at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister's Questions on 24 January were "not valid".

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The Prime Minister had said: "If he wants to talk about figures and about targets being missed, yes, the latest figures show that, in England, 497 people were waiting more than 12 hours, but the latest figures also show that, under the Labour government in Wales, 3,741 people were waiting more than 12 hours."

However, in England the clock starts ticking when a doctor decides a patient should be admitted, while in Wales it begins when the patient registers at A&E.

In a written ministerial statement published on the House of Commons website, Mrs May admitted that the figures she had used were "not directly comparable".

But she stopped short of an apology, and insisted the correct data still shows the NHS in England outperforming Wales.

She said: "I should have used the latest annual data which shows that 3.4% patients waited over 12 hours in Wales last year, compared to 1.3% in England, and the latest monthly data on A&E performance which shows that 85.1% of patients in England were seen within 4 hours in December 2017 compared to 78.9% in Wales."