Friday, 9 October 2015

Tory promises on NHS meaningless.



Some years ago now Prime Minister David Cameron assured voters that the NHS was 'safe' in Tory hands.  It was in 2006 in his speech bringing to end the Tory Party conference that year.  And here is the irony.  Not only did he say it would be safe in his hands but he also said this:

"When your family relies on the NHS all of the time - day after day, night after night - you know how precious it is.

"So, for me, it is not just a question of saying the NHS is safe in my hands - of course it will be. My family is so often in the hands of the NHS, so I want them to be safe there."

And then he promised this: "no more pointless and disruptive reorganisations". Instead, change would be "driven by the wishes and needs of NHS professionals and patients".

Fast forward to 2015 and his governments have imposed a pointless and disruptive reorganisation of the NHS and starved it of funding.  They have brought the NHS to crisis and with junior doctors hitting the streets in demonstrations. 

The crisis has been brought home by the revelation today that NHS trusts in England have accumulated almost £1 bn of deficit in just three months of the financial year.   The NHS is almost on its knees and on course for an annual deficit of £2 bn and the impact on the ground is devastating with  waiting time targets missed.  

Meanwhile the consequences of falling morale and difficulty in staffing levels has led to a soaring bill for agency and other temporary employees.

Today the BMA, the doctor's representative body has issued a stark warning that the NHS faces a crisis 'the like of which we have never seen' and highlighted the £22 bn funding gap and warned of the potential for a winter crisis stretching beyond that  with which the NHS is now able to cope.  

Dr Ian Wilson, BMA representative body chair, said:

“Despite what politicians claim, NHS funding has not kept up with rising patient demand and the increased cost of delivering care. The extra funding promised by the government is barely enough for the NHS to stand still. The result is a health service that is bucking at the seams, relying on emergency bailouts and with no real solution to the £22bn funding gap facing it.

“With winter just around the corner, there is a real risk to the quality of patient care as pressure on services and staff will only intensify.

“The government must wake up and take action. The NHS is renowned as the most efficient health service in the world1, but it cannot continue to do more with less. We need a long-term funding plan rather than a short-term fixes in order to secure the future of the NHS and stop it from lurching from one crisis to another.”

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