John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, made the clam in a tweet on Sunday despite long-running concerns about personnel shortages in the health service.
The MP wrote: “Why not open and staff all the Nightingale hospital capacity they need for CV 19 cases and get the rest of the NHS back to full capacity for everything else?
“No need to scare us with the idea the NHS will not cope.”
According to a recent report by The Kings Fund, there is currently a shortfall of just under 84,000 workers across NHS hospitals, mental health services and community providers.
The report blamed “a prolonged funding squeeze combined with years of poor workforce planning, weak policy and fragmented responsibilities” while the Tories have been in power for the “workforce crisis”.
This has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as frontline health workers catch Covid-19 or are forced to self-isolate. Earlier this month it was reported 30,000 NHS staff were off as the country braced itself for the second wave of the virus.
Redwood’s tweet was met with widespread disbelief.
Redwood has been contacted for comment.
Never the one to waste the opportunity of using five words when two will do, the PM used a series of obscure war references to warn of the potential “disastrous consequences for the NHS”.