The prime minister has blamed COVID-19 for hospital bed shortages and record A&E and ambulance delays plaguing the NHS.
Rishi Sunak insisted that improvements are being made to the health service already but that it is a “reality” that the pandemic contributed to a huge backlog in the system.
“I think it’s not right to ignore the impact that COVID had. The reality is that for two years the NHS had to stop doing lots of things that it normally does,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show.
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“Unsurprisingly, once we get back to normal, all of those treatments come back at a pace that was anticipated but is obviously very significant.
“Has the NHS had pressures before? Of course it has, but COVID has undeniably had an enormous difference, and it is wrong to ignore that.
“I can’t help that COVID happened, I can’t help that there are now thousands of people in hospitals who normally would not be there.”
Read more: ‘I can’t help that Covid happened,’ Sunak says as NHS faces record delays. Oh really? It was your response to ‘Covid’ that created a health catastrophe and your actions as Chancellor during ‘Covid’ that destroyed the UK economy. You can’t help what happened? You WERE what happened