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Nine in ten believe NHS ‘at risk of collapse’ if funding stays same in next five years

A massive 87% of the population is concerned that the NHS could be “at risk of collapse” in the next five years if current levels of government funding continues, a new survey has found.

A new study by the Independent Health Professionals' Association (IHPA) found that 48% of respondents laid blame in management, decision-making and poor waste systems were costing the NHS the most money. Half of those surveyed were “extremely concerned” about the state of the health service’s finances.

The poll comes after the prime minister announced plans to increase the NHS budget by £20bn every year by 2023. Today chancellor Philip Hammond will tell delegates in London that taxes will rise to accommodate the proposals.

May’s decision to boost funding will be welcomed by the British public: a whopping 86% of the population feels patient safety is at risk because of funding cuts, whilst three in five respondents feel that temporary healthcare workers on zero-hour contracts should also receive a higher pay.

Despite respondents believing the shortcomings in funding are having a detrimental impact on patient care — 85% of the population would be concerned about current NHS staffing levels if a loved one required hospital treatment — patient happiness with current staff is still strong, with over half of the public stating they have never had an unpleasant experience with NHS staff, and 78% saying they have never had a negative experience with locum healthcare workers.

A further 30% of people claiming that patients using the NHS when they don’t need treatment are crippling the service. Meanwhile, just 4% of people think that research into treatment for disease is contributing to the funding crisis, with only 0.5% of people stating that staffing costs are a drain on the service.

“It is clear from this report that there are a number of profound issues when it comes to public perceptions of the NHS, with every second person stating that they are extremely concerned about the future of the service should economic pressures continue to plague its operations,” the report said.

It continued: “Considering a looming Brexit, which many have predicted will de-legitimise the UK as an appealing destination for incoming medical talent, the future is an uncertain one for the NHS. It’s time for the government to sit up and listen to a taxpaying public which fears for the safety of its NHS.”

Interestingly, half (57%) of people said they would stand behind nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff if they protested to improve their pay and working conditions.

Ben Itsuokor, consultant geriatrician and president of the IHPA, said: “As a result of inadequate NHS funding not only are thousands of healthcare professionals chronically underpaid but now more overworked than ever. Even more worrying is that ongoing inefficiencies within the NHS system are eating up any budget that is allocated; limiting the ability to properly reimburse staff for their efforts on a daily basis.

Itsuokor noted that the majority of the public both feel supportive about NHS staff taking steps to get fairer pay, adding: “It’s time to spend NHS budgets properly; not just pay lip service to an NHS which has been on its knees for some time.”

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Image Credit: IHPA


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