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Government is in ‘denial’ about NHS financial crisis – BMA

Doctors’ leaders have warned the NHS is “crippled” by government denial about its funding crisis at an emergency meeting.

Yesterday the British Medical Association (BMA) called a special representatives’ meeting, last held in 2011, to discuss NHS funding.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA, said in his speech to the meeting that the government had come up with less than a third of the £30bn the NHS needed and were pressuring doctors to make impossible efficiency savings.

“We must believe that we can make British medicine better and our health service better. It needs our hope as much as it needs our effort. It has never needed our hope more than now,” he said.

“It is a health service with a revenue larger than the GDP of many countries but which would struggle to get a credit rating. Which suffers from debt, but is crippled by denial.

“The chancellor speaks of a ‘fully-funded’ NHS but has come up with less than a third of the extra £30 billion in England alone that he admits it needs.

“Stop and reflect on that for a moment. A government claiming to increase resources while the mathematically competent can see that it’s all cuts and efficiencies.

“His claims are fantasy, but so too are his solutions. He says we just need to be more efficient. So much more efficient that £22bn worth of work that we do apparently won’t exist, or won’t cost anything, in four years’ time.

“That sounds like a lot of patients who will no longer need treating. Is the chancellor hoping they’ll all move to Australia with the junior doctors?”

‘Witch trial’ junior doctors’ contract

Although Dr Porter said that the meeting was “not about” the BMA’s ongoing industrial dispute over the government’s planned imposition of a new junior doctors’ contract, he repeated calls for the government to restart negotiations, saying the contract had “all the legal foundation of a witch trial”.

Dr Porter also said that the Carter Review, which offered the more “sophisticated” solution to healthcare funding of transferring more medically fit patients from hospitals, had been scuppered by a lack of funding for social care which meant that patients had nowhere else to go.

The most recent figures show delayed care transfers have increased by 6% in the past year.

However, he said that the new GP Forward View was a sign that GPs’ working lives could become “more bearable”.

Dr Porter concluded by warning that the UK could be the first country in the world to lose its health service “through sheer unmitigated carelessness”, adding: “We must not let this happen. Our patients would never forgive us if we did. We would never forgive ourselves.”

He called for a commitment from the government to focus on integration “not piecemeal privatisation” and to match the “extraordinary commitment” of NHS staff.

NHE contacted the Department of Health for a statement but they did not reply at the time of publication.

(Image c. Philip Toscano from PA Wire and Press Association Images)




Linda   04/05/2016 at 14:06

I retire in 4 months and 27 days and I cannot wait to go. The job is more and more impossible. It is heart breaking to see what is being done to the health service. I feel most sorry for the young Drs who I see full of enthusiasm and worry how they will be in 5 years if they stay in the NHS. Government needs to tell the truth - which costs nothing- tell people about wasting clinician time for trivialities that the patient should be able to manage themselves. Write to patients who waste appointments asking for the money it cost. not a fine a request - get he message home- stop telling people the NHS is free it is not. We always write to patients who DNA - amazingly they can pick up phone to be aggressive to practice manager - so get taken off for breach of Zero tolerance policy - but cannot ring up to cancel appt. No one has ever accepted the invitation to explain to PRG why they should be allowed to block others from having appts though they do always get the invite.

Dr. Koshy   04/05/2016 at 18:02

This is an interesting article. It appears that our government and Mr. Osborne know nothing about the actual work on the hospital floor. They look at some numbers and are given guided tours around hospitals by some managers, who will "bend over backwards" to please them, and tell them what they want to hear. I have written it before and I do so again, I invite Mr. Hunt and Mr. Osborne to spend a 12 hour shift, shadowing one junior doctor and doing exactly what he/she does for a week and then have what it takes to talk such balderdash.Accept this challenge if you dare Mr. Hunt and Mr. Osborne !!

Terry Nicholson   07/05/2016 at 05:18

7/7 not 5/7 So the conflict over how to change our NHS to a seven day week system is set to continue, as does also the blame game. All I know that from my family’s tragic experience the longer this conflict exist and the more acrid it becomes the total of weekend victims will continue . May I first of all put aside the myth that all patients entering hospital on a Friday have to do so because for them it is an emergency. From my experience I found the reverse to be more true, that entering hospital on a Friday it is more likely the outcome will develop into an emergency situation. My Mother entered a NHS DERRIFORD Hospital in Plymouth, our home town, on a Friday morning for a pre-arranged minor operation requiring only an overnight stay. The outcome was that on a Sunday she died in utter agony caused by peritonitis due to leaking clip/micro surgery. So over the weekend it went from having a minor op to then my brothers and I being asked to give our consent to have Mum’s life support system switched off..Mum died not long after. I shall never forget how helpless I felt at the time and being racked by guilt afterwards about could I have done more to have saved her. If that wasn’t traumatic enough my brothers and I set out to discover what went wrong and why. We were denied an internal review. Only option left was to take it to the Ombudsman who after a complaints process involving us and lasting three years. Finally the Ombudsman upheld our complaint , classed it as Avoidable and recommended a number of changes to be made. The first one being having a better structure available at weekends. All of this was done with effort to avoid this happening again, but fate wasn’t going to let us off that easy. As a few years later I read to my dismay that another patient had died in the same circumstances in the same hospital as Mum over a weekend period. I again wrote to the Ombudsman to draw his attention to the similarities between this case and my Mum’s. Her relatives chose to take the legal route. So a curse on this five day week system an all that seek to prolong it. Terry, Cirencester, Glos PS Terry, Perhaps you ought to mention that up to this point your Mum was extremely strong and healthy, both in body and mind. The photo will confirm this. The thing that sticks most in my mind was when Brian and I visited your Mum and found blood everywhere, over the bed and floor, Mum had been pressing her button and no one had answered it. It was only when we rushed out and summoned a nurse that the bleeding was stopped and she was made comfortable…….Jen

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