In competitive constituencies that are covered by a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) considering an A&E closure or downgrade, the swing from the Conservatives to Labour was double that in seats with no planned reconfigurations at June’s General Election, according to new analysis by Incisive Health.

The analysis, reported in The i today (24 July 2017), reveals that the average 2017 swing from Conservatives to Labour in the 105 competitive seats facing local A&E reconfigurations was 3.2%. In seats not facing A&E reconfigurations the swing to Labour was half at 1.6%. The analysis was also picked up by the Political Betting blog.

If the swing in the 105 seats facing local A&E reconfigurations is adjusted to match areas without, then the Conservatives would have won twelve more seats, enough to have given Theresa May a majority in the House of Commons.

Commenting on the findings, Kieran Lucia of Incisive Health said:

“The General Election was billed as the Brexit election, but changes to hospitals was a big issue on the doorstep. Public concern about the future of an A&E can cut-through the noise of an election campaign like little else.

The fact that there was a bigger swing in constituencies where changes to local A&Es were on the cards will not be lost on Conservative MPs who are anxious about the size of their majority. With the political situation more uncertain than ever, the challenge for the NHS of selling controversial changes to a sceptical public and nervous politicians will only get tougher.”