Fantasy and denial in under-funded NHS

Following a disastrous pandemic that has drastically cut back the capacity of NHS acute hospitals and piled added pressures and problems on to primary care, community health and mental health services, the government’s 2021-22 mandate to NHS England and NHS Improvement begins and barely goes beyond the level of fantasy and denial.

The fantasy is that the NHS and its exhausted staff can almost instantly recover from the blows they have suffered over the past 15 months: the denial is ignoring the fact that Rishi Sunak’s recent budget, and the miserly additional £6.6 billion funding to cope with the extra costs of Covid fall far short of the allocations needed to get the NHS back on its feet, pay staff a decent increase to convince them they are being treated with respect, and stop some of the more dilapidated hospital buildings literally falling down.

The Mandate begins with reference to the 2019 Long Term Plan, with its combination of 5-year and 10-year objectives, and then supplemented by the Johnson government’s 2019 election manifesto.

Full story in The Lowdown, 17 April 2021