Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Patients in Wales are twice as likely to be waiting for treatment than in England. No wonder that the number of patients in Wales escaping to seek treatment in England has increased by 40 per cent in two years”

Steve Barclay, Health Secretary, Conservative Party Conference

Facts

Former Health Secretary Steve Barclay told attendees of the 2023 Conservative Party Conference that due “to Labour’s short-term thinking, patients in Wales are twice as likely to be waiting for treatment than in England. No wonder that the number of patients in Wales escaping to seek treatment in England has increased by 40 per cent in two years.”

As Full Fact points out, these claims appear to be based on unpublished data.

“When we contacted Mr Barclay and the Conservative party to ask where the figures came from, neither responded. NHS England collects this data but it is not routinely published.”

“The Department of Health and Social Care and the Welsh Government both told us they do not publish such figures, and we’ve not been able to find the data elsewhere.”

“If the statistic is accurate, Mr Barclay’s claim may be missing context, because patients from England also cross the border into Wales for treatment, and the number of non-Welsh patients treated in Wales rose by 55% from 2020/21 to 2021/22 according to the Welsh Government.”

Verdict

Barclay failed to provide the date to support his self-serving claim. 

We emailed Steve Barclay’s parliamentary office and the DHSC offering them the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

Client Journalism 

The Daily Mail had already given spurious authority to Steve Barclay’s evidence free claim, asserting that “patients try to ‘escape’ Labour’s Welsh NHS as the number seeking care in English hospitals to avoid longer waits rises by almost 40% in two years.”  When asked to explain its source, the Daily Mail citedinternal NHS figures

We contacted the Daily Mail offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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