PM Rebuked For Misusing NHS Figures To Attack Jeremy Corbyn
The Prime Minister has been forced to make a humiliating 'clarification' to the House of Commons for using misleading statistics on the NHS.

Theresa May was rebuked by the head of the UK statistics watchdog for misusing NHS waiting times figures in Prime Minister’s Questions.

She is fond of deflecting attacks on her party’s management of the NHS by questioning how Labour are handling the health service in Wales.

During PMQ in the House of Commons last month, the PM May tried to wrongfoot Jeremy Corbyn by quoting figures claiming that seven times more patients were waiting more than 12 hours in casualty departments in Labour-run Wales than in Tory-run England.

However, the chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir David Norgrove yesterday said the comparison used by the PM was “not valid”.

Downing Street said it accepted the watchdog’s verdict, which followed a complaint about Mrs May’s of “selective misuse” of data.

In her statement, Mrs May said: “During Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 January I understand that the monthly 12 hour figures I used, while accurate and drawn directly from data published by the relevant NHS authorities in England and Wales, are not directly comparable.”

In a letter to Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, who complained about Mrs May’s comments, Sir David said: “You are right to say that the comparison is not valid.

“The figure used for England refers to the accident and emergency wait time from the decision to admit to admission into another part of the health service.”

“The figure used for Wales represents the entire time patients wait”

“from arriving to leaving accident and emergency services, including the time from decision to admit to actual admission.”

Mrs May and some of her ministers have repeatedly highlighted what they see as the poor performance of the NHS in Labour-run Wales as they sought to defend their stewardship of the health service in England.

Earlier on January 25, the PM was responding to questions from Labour leader about a winter crisis which he said had seen NHS England record its worst-ever A&E waiting time figures.

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Mrs May said: “If he wants to talk about figures and about targets being missed, yes, the latest figures show that, in England, 497 people were waiting more than 12 hours, but the latest figures also show that, under the Labour Government in Wales, 3,741 people were waiting more than 12 hours.”

In her statement, she admitted: “I should have used the latest annual data which shows that 3.4% patients waited over 12 hours in Wales last year, compared to 1.3% in England, and the latest monthly data on A&E performance which shows that 85.1% of patients in England were seen within 4 hours in December 2017 compared to 78.9% in Wales.”

Mr Jones wrote to the Statistics Authority to complain of the PM’s “misleading” comments, and warning: “Selective misuse of statistics like this does not allow for a fair debate on the NHS.”

“Research such as the OECD Review of Health Care Quality showed that there was no consistent picture of one nation’s health system performing better than another.”

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