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The Guardian view on the prime minister’s NHS problem: he’s lost for words | Editorial

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The government faces a crisis in a part of the state where voters don’t fully trust it

Having grown up with a GP father and a pharmacist mother, Rishi Sunak ought to have an idea about what ails the National Health Service. But with up to 500 people dying every week because of delays in hospital emergency care, the prime minister is nowhere to be seen. Mr Sunak is lost for words for good reason. He runs a government that faces a crisis in a part of the state where voters don’t fully trust it. They have good reason not to.

Waiting lists for NHS hospital care are now at an all-time high across the UK, with 9 million people waiting to start treatment – the highest figure since records began in August 2007. Such has been the Tory failure to manage England’s NHS that the health service is treating fewer patients from the waiting list than it was managing pre-pandemic, which is partly why the backlog continues to grow. Even 70% of Tory voters think that the government has made a mess of the health service.

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