The National:

WITHOUT a shadow of a doubt the biggest story across the UK yesterday was the appalling figures which show that the NHS in England has suffered grievously under the Tories.

The failure of NHS England to meet the waiting time targets for cancer, hospital care and A&E has been going on for nearly four years, and yesterday it was revealed that delays for hospital care and in A&E are at their highest levels since targets began.

Not surprisingly, the issue went to the top of the agenda in most sensible broadcasting and press newsrooms, though certain tabloids we could name were not too bothered – probably thought all those percentages would baffle their readers. And of course, it doesn’t suit their agenda that their beloved Boris was looking a bit bothered and on the back foot by it all.

One serious quote stood out from the rest of the commentary on the figures. As the BBC website stated yesterday morning, Dr Nick Scriven, of the Society of Acute Medicine, said: “These figures are truly worrying as we haven’t even reached the ‘traditional’ winter period yet.”

He said urgent action was needed, warning hospitals were “imploding”.

“We have heard so many announcements over the last few weeks of half-baked projects that require either thrice-promised money or are totally uncosted for the real world.”

The item on the website by health correspondent Nick Triggle was headlined Hospitals ‘imploding’ as waits at worst-ever level and given the seriousness of Dr Scriven’s warning, that headline was entirely justifiable.

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But what’s this? After a complaint by a senior NHS boss, Chris Hopson, about the use of "imploding" the BBC website by late afternoon had been changed to: “Hospital waiting times at worst-ever level."

They also cut Scriven’s quote though added British Medical Association leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul saying the NHS was facing a “catastrophe”.

Triggle also wrote: “Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also missing their targets, although health is devolved so NHS decisions are taken by the administrations in those parts of the UK.”

The fact is that NHS Scotland is the best performer of any national health service in this UK, and nary a word about that could you find in any of yesterday’s coverage of the issue which may yet damage Boris Johnson in Titanic fashion.

ITV political editor Robert Peston summed it up for Johnson and his Machiavellian aide Dominic Cummings, saying the issue could seriously damage their campaign and adding he’d spoken to a consultant who told him: “It’s imploding [that word again]. No new nurse or doctor recruitment is possible at the moment because of Brexit [anxiety about free movement], the pension issue [doctors retiring to prevent a big tax bill on their pension contributions] and the NHS bursary [less money for nurse training]. The figures reflect exactly what we see on the ground”.

The score? Peston 1, BBC 0.

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