Piers Morgan: 'Britain loves the NHS. But it’s in one hell of a mess. Shame on our leaders for bickering while it crumbles'

Wednesday 7 February 2024

By TalkTV's Piers Morgan

It was the safest bet of the week, wasn’t it? Well, maybe the second safest.

The furore about Rishi Sunak’s £1,000 wager with me seemed like perfect fodder for Prime Minister’s Questions.

Quite clearly, the standard of British parliamentary banter has slumped to an historic crisis.

But on a much more serious note - so has the National Health Service. The Prime Minister has admitted it.

A lot has been said and written this week about the charity bet we made in that interview.Some of it has been frankly hysterical.

But to me the Prime Minister’s admission that his government is failing on the NHS was a lot more significant - and a lot more personal.

A couple of things have happened since I shared that story with the Prime Minister.

Firstly, he sent my mother a bunch of flowers and he called her. That was simply a thoroughly decent thing to do and I appreciate it.

Secondly, a viewer wrote to me with a story that was grimly familiar and extremely disturbing.I’m going to read part of it.

“My mum was admitted to hospital with dangerously low blood oxygen levels on Friday lunchtime. My dad experienced similar concerns about her care as you shared. She was still in A&E on Saturday, in a crowded corridor.

“My dad, 80 years old, was concerned that her oxygen levels were too low, her oxygen canister was not being checked.

“She was originally given an empty oxygen canister, despite her reason for admission, and her alarms were not being responded to.

“He was made to feel as though he was a nuisance and interfering, regularly dismissed by nurses and told my mum was being monitored.

“He found it so distressing that he left the hospital rather than create conflict, entrusting my mum to their care.

“My mum sadly passed on Saturday evening whilst still in Accident and Emergency, more than 24 hours after arrival.”

That is truly shocking.

And sadly it reflects the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people in this country.

My friend Jeremy Bowen at the BBC yesterday shared this photograph of his 86-year-old mother, who was advised to go to hospital by her doctor and spent the entire night sitting on a hard plastic chair while she waited for somebody to see her.

Our doctors and nurses are working flat-out in a system that’s completely broken and often now feels incapable of providing basic care.

Britain loves the NHS. But it’s in one hell of a mess.

And shame on our leaders for bickering while it crumbles.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement