General election: Boris Johnson uses first speech after win to repeat NHS campaign lies

Prime minister makes false claim about recruiting 50,000 nurses and building 40 hospitals

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 13 December 2019 04:49
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General Election: Boris Johnson promises to focus on NHS and Brexit after winning majority

Boris Johnson has used his first acceptance speech after exit polls showed the Conservatives are set for a landslide election victory to repeat a number of campaign lies about the NHS.

The prime minister is forecast to win a large majority in the House of Commons, with the Conservatives predicted to take more than 364 seats to Labour’s 203, with Liberal Democrats on 11 and the Scottish National Party on 49.

Speaking to supporters after retaining his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency seat, Mr Johnson said the Tories had been given a “powerful new mandate” to deliver on its manifesto.

“Yes, we will recruit 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 more GPs, and we will build 40 new hospitals,” he said.

The comment came just days after Mr Johnson publicly admitted that in fact only 31,000 nurses would actually be new recruits.

Questioned by Sky News last week on the Conservative manifesto pledge to deliver “50,000 more nurses” – and how many would be new recruits to the health service – he said: “Yes, 31,000 is the answer to that.”

After unveiling the commitment last month, party sources confirmed the figure includes an estimated 18,500 existing nurses who will be encouraged to remain within the NHS, or attracted back after leaving.

Mr Johnson’s claim his government is building 40 new hospitals has also repeatedly come under fire after it emerged funding was in place for only six.

Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that while some £2.7 billion has been allocated to six hospital trusts for building projects for completion by 2025, the other 34 projects for delivery by 2030 have so far been promised just £100 million of “seed funding”.

The first six projects include extensions to existing hospitals, as well as new buildings on separate sites, and will not require the demolition of facilities to provide land for construction.

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