Many will judge Boris Johnson on whether he will, indeed, “get Brexit done” as he promised time and again during a General Election campaign that secured the Conservatives a momentous victory at the polls.
But what is equally important is the Prime Minister’s management of the UK’s precious health service.
The latest figures from NHS England paint a dire picture – more people than ever before are on the waiting list for treatments, whilst in A&E waiting times continue to get worse, with just over 81 per cent of patients seen within four hours last month, well below the 95 per cent target. And this is in spite of the heroic efforts of medical staff who work hard day in, day out to deliver the best possible care they can.
As exemplified this week in the reaction to the plight of a four-year-old boy who, due to patient demand, had little choice but to lie on the floor at Leeds General Infirmary until a bed became available, the NHS engenders passionate views.
Mr Johnson said on the steps of 10 Downing Street yesterday that the NHS would be his Government’s top priority and pledged to “massively increase” investment and provide 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments.
What he has to do now is show where these staff and resources will come from and deliver on his promises in order to alleviate pressure in the system and ensure the NHS can meet the needs of this country long into the future.
The BMA has called on the Government to administer real change for staff, patients and services to address the “downward spiral” and “shambolic figures”. A key test of Mr Johnson’s policies will be whether he can do just that.