It’s an inflammatory topic, but Lily Allen has broached the subject of NHS budget cuts in a new podcast. Recalling an incident where her (then) two-year-old daughter, Marnie, was forced to wait for hours in A&E while her mum “held her chin together”, the Not Fair singer has claimed that hospitals are severely under-staffed.
Speaking to News Roast about the incident – which took place in 2015 – she said: “My daughter fell outside her house and split her chin on a railing.
“I called an ambulance and they said it would take half an hour, [but] it was a huge gash in a two-year-old’s neck.
“Eventually I hailed a cab and was holding her chin together with a piece of flannel.”
Allen continued: “At the hospital I asked, ‘Where’s A&E for my daughter?’ They replied, ‘Just take a ticket and take a seat’.
“My daughter had a hole in her neck, [but] you can’t hold it against the doctors and nurses. It’s not their fault.”
The 31-year-old then said of the NHS: “I’ve seen its decline. When I had my first baby, the midwife came every day.
“Only three years into a Tory government we had one visit. It was pretty bad. It’s horrendous.”
Earlier this year, an American doctor’s letter about our country’s free – but under-resourced – health service quickly went viral after she shared it on her blog.
She wrote: “Dear U.K., the NHS is awesome. Try to treat it a little better. Maybe teach kids in school how to use the health care system (hey, why not NHS ed alongside drivers ed or sex ed?). Have safe sex. Stop smoking. Try to lose weight if you need to (obesity causes 30% of cancers). Wear lower heels for dancing. And for crying out loud stop stealing wheelchairs.
“The next time anyone mentions privatisation or user fees tell them in America there are people trying to save enough money for the co-payment for the CT scan that will tell them if their cancer has returned or not.”
A few months ago, it was revealed that there has been a sharp rise in “trolley waits” – aka the amount of time people have to wait for a hospital bed after being admitted in an emergency.
New data, compiled by the BBC, shows 473,453 patients waited more than four hours between October 2015 and September 2016 - almost a five-fold increase since 2010/11.
They also reported that three-quarters of hospitals are reporting bed shortages – and, when asked to comment on the issue, Dr Chris Moulton, of the Royal College of Medicine, said that the NHS has been put under an enormous amount of pressure.
“Patients who are delayed like this are still being monitored by staff. But we know that the overcrowding we are seeing is dangerous.
“It leads to worse outcomes for patients - higher infection rates, patients ending up on the wrong wards, and generally a negative experience.”