Skip to main content

NHS crisis is government created

It is increasingly difficult to see a coherent government strategy for the economy.  Dealing with the deficit has now given way to 'doing whatever is politically expedient to win the next general election'. The NHS is high in list of voters' concerns.

The 'extra' £2 billion for the NHS announced today in the Chancellor's autumn statement is welcome. But it is too little and very late. The government has been warned over the past four years of cuts that the NHS is 'on a precipice' and would have difficulty meeting needs. Mr Cameron promised that the NHS would be 'ring fenced' and protected from the cuts, but so-called efficiency savings have eaten into NHS budgets to the tune of £20 billion.

Responding to the announcement today by the chancellor that NHS services are to receive £2 billion in extra funding, BMA Council Chair, Dr Mark Porter said:

“There is little doubt that the NHS is under unprecedented pressure from a combination of rising patient demand and contracting budgets. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are working hard to deliver first rate patient care to the public, but they are being undermined by a lack of resources and staff."

The BMA has also welcomed the designated investment in GP services.

“The chancellor’s announcement that more funding will be allocated to the NHS is an encouraging step forward as it does appear that politicians of all parties are starting to get the message about the dire state of the NHS finances. We are particularly pleased that policymakers have listened to the BMA and confirmed that £250 million will be allocated annually for the next four years to invest in GP premises and out of hospital infrastructure.  Many GP facilities have been starved of investment for decades with the result that a number of GP practices are too small and inadequate to cope with the number of patients coming through the surgery door."

But the crisis in the NHS is more than simply funding.  It is a crisis created by the government. We  recall the promise that there would be no 'top down' extensive reorganisation of the health service. Yet this is exactly what has happened against advice of doctors' bodies such as the BMA. This has put an extra pressure on scarce front line resources.  The reorganisation was senseless and unnecessary particularly in a time of recession.

There have been more than 38,000 'exit packages'  for NHS managers agreed since 'reforms' began. Yet some 4,000 of those  have been  rehired.  There is something ludicrous about managers taking lucrative redundancy deals only then to be recruited once more as consultants! The cost of redundancy payments for NHS managers has hit almost £1.6bn since the coalition came to power. The government's handling of the NHS has been at best inept.

As Mark Porter warns

“Despite this announcement, the NHS continues to face a number of challenges, with staff shortages, especially in emergency care, remaining a cause of concern.  We need this announcement to be the start of a long term programme of investment in the NHS that is backed by all policymakers so that patients continue to get the care they deserve and need.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The lion and the wildebeest

Birds flock, fish school, bees swarm, but social being is more than simply sticking together.  Social groups enable specialisation and a sharing of abilities, and enhances ability, learning and creating new tricks. The more a group works together, the more effective they become as a team.  Chimpanzees learn from each other how to use stones to crack nuts, or sticks to get termites.  All around us we see cooperation and learning in nature.  Nature is inherently creative.  Pulling together becomes a rallying cry during a crisis.  We have heard it throughout the coronavirus pandemic.  "We are all in this together", a mantra that encourages people to adopt a common strategy. In an era of 'self-interest' and 'survival of the fittest,'  and 'selfish gene', we lose sight of the obvious conclusion from the evidence all around us.   Sticking together is more often the better approach.  This is valid for the lion as it is also for the wildebeest.   We don't

No evidence for vaccine link with autism

Public health bodies are worried that an alarming drop in childhood vaccinations is leading to a resurgence of diseases in childhood that we had all but eradicated.  Misinformation and scare stories about the harmful effects of vaccines abound on the internet and in social media.  Where they are based on 'science', it is highly selective, and often reliance is placed on falsehoods.  Conspiracy theories also abound - cover-ups, deception, lies. As a result, too many parents are shunning vaccinations for their children.  So, what does the published, peer-reviewed literature tell us about vaccincations? Are they safe and effective, or are there long term harmful effects?  A new report now provides some of the answers. New evidence published in the Cochrane Library today finds MMR, MMRV, and MMR+V vaccines are effective and that they are not associated with increased risk of autism. Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (also known as chickenpox) are infectious diseases cau