Thursday, 24 October 2013

NHS trusts buckling under extreme financial pressure

There is more evidence today that that NHS savings are putting patient care at risk. A review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) suggests that quarter of hospital trusts in England are at raised risk of providing poor care.

The findings are based on monitoring by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of a host of data, including death rates, serious errors and patient surveys. It found 44 out of 161 trusts fell into the two highest risk categories.

Responding to the CQC’s review of hospital trust data in England, Dr Mark Porter, Chair of BMA Council said: 

"Having this array of information in the public domain is an important step towards improving transparency across the NHS, informing and empowering patients and shining a light on hospitals which are not performing to the standard we expect.

"Hospitals are large, complex organisations so we need to avoid oversimplifying or reducing vast amounts of data to a simple band or rating.

"It goes without saying that where trusts are found to be operating below par we urgently need to identify where the problems lie and find a solution."

But what is the basis of the problem? The BMA point to the acute financial pressure resulting from savings cuts imposed on the NHS. 

"The fact is many trusts are buckling under extreme financial pressure. The NHS is having to make £20bn of savings, leading to increasing pressure on staff and resources and, most worryingly, affecting patient care and outcomes." Dr Porter says. 

"Many hospitals are stretched to breaking point. If we are to deliver the improvements patients and doctors want to see, the government needs to address the significant funding gap in the NHS. 

"All hospitals should be meeting the standard of high quality care which patients expect and front line NHS staff want to deliver. But the reality is that the NHS simply cannot continue to meet rising demand with reduced funding."

The government cannot simply wash its hands of the effects of the cuts and the effects of the unnecessary reorganisation it has imposed on the NHS. 

The coalition promised to ring-fence the NHS from austerity. It hasn't done so.

David Cameron promised voters there would be no top-down imposed reorganisation of the NHS. He reneged on that commitment. 

Reorganisation and cuts are putting lives at risk. 

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