, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter

This evening, the Labour Party released a Party Political Broadcast on the state of the NHS.

Here @IPPR, @DHochlaf and I have fact-checked their claims.

How do they stack up?

VERDICT: 18 of the claims are true, and one claim is partially true. None are false (1/20)
CLAIM: NHS staff are "Exhausted, overworked, undervalued"

FACT: 58% worked additional unpaid hours, 43% were satisfied with how their organisation values their work, & 38% report20d feeling unwell due to work related stress. (NHS Staff Survey 2017)


CLAIM: "In 2017, the NHS winter crisis was branded a 'humanitarian crisis’ by
the Red Cross"

FACT: Mike Adamson, the CEO of the British Red Cross called it a "humanitarian crisis" and stood by his comments when challenged. (The Independent)


CLAIM: "they ain’t got the staff"

FACT: Total workforce vacancy rate of 8.7 per cent in 2018/19 Q2. It translates to 102,000 vacancies in the quarter. It is worse for nurses at 11.6 per cent. (NHS Improvement)


CLAIM: "they ain’t got the beds"

FACT: In April-June 2011, there were 148,046 beds available. During the same period in 2018, there were 140,928 beds available. Average occupancy rates were 89.8%. (House of Commons)


CLAIM: "There’s people on trolleys, in the corridors, for hours on end?"

FACT: In January 2018, 81,000 patients waited for 4-12 hours on trolleys, and 1,000 waited more than 12 hours (Kings Fund).


CLAIM: "No privacy, no dignity."

FACT: In 2017/18 there was a monthly average of 1,786 cases of mixed sex wards being used unjustifiably to provide sleeping accommodation. During the same period in 2012/13 the average was 416 (NHS England 2018)


CLAIM: "Last year, 25,000 operations were cancelled due to the winter crisis."

FACT: In Q4 of 2017/18, 25,502 elective operations were cancelled, 1.3 per cent of elective admissions, the highest on record. (NHS England 2018)


CLAIM: "over 4 million people waiting for an operation"

FACT: The number of people waiting for consultant-led treatment, following referral from their GP has risen to 4.12 million, up 59% from 2.42 million at the end of March 2010 (House of Commons 2018).


CLAIM: "someone who’s waited six months for an operation it’s been
cancelled again"

FACT: 11.6% of patients were not treated within 28 days of having their surgery cancelled (NHSE 2019).


CLAIM: "The Tories have cut £7 billion from social care since 2010"

FACT: The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services says cumulative savings 2010-2018 have been £7b (ADASS 2018)


CLAIM: "Hundreds of GP surgeries have closed under this Govt affecting more than a million patients"

FACT: 202 GP practices closed or merged in the year to June 2017, while only 8 opened. The million figure was extrapolated from FOI requests (Pulse 2018)


CLAIM: "We needs thousands more GPs but more and more have had enough and are leaving"

FACT: As of Sept 2018, there were 34,205 full time GP’s in England, below the 34,592 reported in Sept 2015. The NHS Long-Term Plan calls for more GPs.


CLAIM: There’s not enough practice nurses or receptionists.

FACT: There were 23,135 practice nurses and 50,512 receptionists in Sept 2018. (NHS Digital 2018). This implies GPs are under-leveraged with less than one nurse per GP.


CLAIM: "have to wait 4 hours to get seen in the A&E"

FACT: 2.8 million patients spent longer than 4 hours in A&E in 2017/18 (House of Commons 2018). In Sept 2018, 88.9% were seen within 4 hours, below NHSE planning guidance of 90% (Kings Fund)


CLAIM: "That’s if you can get to one, if it [A&E] hasn’t been closed, or “downgraded”."

FACT: FullFact say this is speculative, since A&Es haven't closed. There are, however, multiple plans for some A&Es to be closed or 'downgraded'.

VERDICT: Partially true

CLAIM: "Privatisation has doubled under the Tories....[to] £9bn"

FACT: expenditure on private providers has increased from £4b in 2009/10 to £9b in 2016/17 (House of Commons). As a proportion of RDEL this has increased from 4% to 7.7% (IPPR)


CLAIM: "Teenage suicides have nearly doubled since 2010"

FACT: Suicides among teenagers have risen by 66% 2010 to 2017, from 112 to 187 & the trend has been rising since 2010. However, teen suicides have been volatile e.g., in 2001 there were 185.


CLAIM: "life expectancy is going backwards in the
poorest areas"

FACT: Since 2011, the rise in female life expectancy has stalled in the 3rd, 4th & 5th most deprived deciles and has reversed in the two most deprived deciles (Lancet 2018)


CLAIM: "Health and social care cuts have been linked to 120,000 excess deaths in England."

FACT: 2017 BMJ study shows correlation between austerity & excess deaths (this does not necessarily mean causation)

VERDICT: True, (but with caution to not over-claim)

(20/20) ENDS
For all those asking, we did not “fact check the NHS” we fact-checked the Labour PPB on the NHS in England. Since the claims were made about England, our facts/sources are for the NHS in England. We give no judgement about Scotland, Wales or NI.
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