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

Prioritising people in nursing care.

There has been in recent years concern that care in the NHS has not been sufficiently 'patient centred', or responsive to the needs of the patient on a case basis. It has been felt in care that it as been the patient who has had to adapt to the regime of care, rather than the other way around. Putting patients at the centre of care means being responsive to their needs and supporting them through the process of health care delivery.  Patients should not become identikit sausages in a production line. The nurses body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has responded to this challenge with a revised code of practice reflection get changes in health and social care since the previous code was published in 2008. The Code describes the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. Four themes describe what nurses and midwives are expected to do: prioritise people practise effectively preserve safety, and promote professionalism and trust. The

Mr Duncan-Smith offers a disingenuous and divisive comparison

Some time ago, actually it was a long time ago when I was in my early teens, someone close to me bought a table. It was an early flat pack variety. It came with a top and four legs. He followed the instructions to the letter screwing the legs into the top. But when he had completed it the table wobbled. One leg he explained was shorter than the other three; so he sawed a bit from each of the other legs. The table wobbled. One leg, he explained, was longer than the other three. So, he sawed a bit off. The table wobbled. He went on cutting the legs, but the table continued to wobble. Cut, cut, cut! By this time he had convinced himself there was no alternative to it.  He ended up with a very low table indeed, supported by four very stumpy legs and a bit of cardboard placed under one of them to stop it wobbling on the uneven floor.  Mr Duncan-Smith argues that we need a 1% cap on benefits to be 'fair to average earners'. Average  earners have seen their incomes rise by less tha