Is the NHS crisis of our own making?
The recent funding announcement from the Prime Minister promises £20bn extra for the NHS over the next 5 years. It is a welcome change from the 7 year period of austerity that the NHS has endured, but the deal is unlikely to be enough to keep up with rising demands, let alone raise standards. It is now clear that the lasting price of austerity has been the inability of the NHS to prepare for the future. Population changes and higher numbers of patients with chronic conditions have been predicted for many years. Add this to the impact of cuts from social care and the lack of a workforce strategy and the evidence points to the NHS crisis being very much of our own making.
- The NHS is half way through a decade of record underfunding - lowest average rises (2010/11 -2020/21).
- The whole NHS budget has not been protected and the result is cuts to frontline services, especially in public health.
- Nearly half of staff say underfunding stops them doing their job properly - many say its the worst situation they have seen.
- There is a crisis in the recruitment of staff across the NHS - including too few doctors, midwives, paramedics and nurses.
- Per head the government spends less on the NHS than many other comparable countries.
- We have less beds and doctors per head than many comparable countries.
- Large cuts to social care and mental health have added huge pressure on the NHS as there are not enough services outside of hospital.
What’s been happening?
- The government has demand big efficiency savings which many providers have found unachievable and have driven up thier deficits.
- NHS debts are being made the priority, new local plans (STPs) were lacked the necessary investment leading to cuts in services across the country, including hospital and A&E closures.
- Private sector companies like Virgin continue to win big contracts to run NHS services for profit.
- Public funds are being diverted away from patients and wasted on PFI and tendering.
- Rationing is increasing and waiting lists are rising
- The temporary closure of services, such as maternity units and A&E departments, is now widespread;