We need a properly funded NHS – make your voice heard
This week’s news that United Lincolnshire Hospital’s NHS Trust will be closing its A&E department in Grantham in the evenings due to staff shortages is, in the words of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, “disappointing, yet unsurprising”.
The TUC and health unions, campaigners and think tanks like the Kings Fund and Health Foundation have been raising increasing concerns about the impact that the government’s unprecedented funding squeeze is having on health and social care services.
Conservative-led governments have embarked on an austerity drive across the NHS since 2010 with a devastating impact on NHS finances that has led to staff shortages and deteriorating performance in every area, from cancer treatment, to treatment waiting times, delayed discharge, ambulance call outs and A&E delays.
Calling for “urgent action to increase capacity in A&E departments” Dr Clifford Mann of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine paints a grim picture of staff on the front line:
“It is now routine for many staff to arrive at work faced with congested and overcrowded departments in which it is impossible to deliver best care. Similarly many leave work, hours after their agreed finish time, exhausted by the scale of the task.”
Even on the right of the political spectrum, it is acknowledged that the gap between demand for services and the resources available has become untenable due to a government spending profile that will see a decade of barely 1% annual funding increases by 2020, against an historical average of closer to 4%.
Worryingly this has led to increasing calls for a shake-up of NHS funding with a view to increasing US-style insurance schemes and charging for services. The Daily Telegraph today is calling on an ascendant Tory government to use this opportunity to “make the argument for a mix of social insurance, direct taxes, top ups and charges”.
So it is incumbent on those of us who care passionately about the NHS to press the case for our tax-funded, free and universal health service and to call on the government to provide the sustainable funding that our health and social care system needs.
You can help by joining our campaign for fair funding for the NHS.
Health unions and campaign groups are today launching a new campaign to put pressure on the government to use the “fiscal reset” that new chancellor Phillip Hammond has alluded to this autumn to provide the kind of public funding our European neighbours enjoy and put our health system back on a sound and sustainable footing.
Visit our new Fund Our NHS website, contact your MP using our on-line tool, tell us about your experience of rationing, cuts and under-funding in the NHS and contact your friends and family to ask their MPs to commit to our five key campaign pledges:
- Give the NHS an immediate and urgent funding boost as part of the government’s plans to re-set their spending plans
- Lift the pressure to make unrealistic efficiency savings which are causing problems for patients and cuts to services
- Set out a long-term settlement for the NHS, a commitment to public funding that will help the NHS plan properly and create a sustainable health and social care system for the future
- Invest in the staff who are the heart of the NHS, with fair pay, improved training, safe staffing ratios and strategies for improving the recruitment, retention, involvement and morale of the NHS workforce
- Spending public funds wisely, restoring the benefits of a collaborative NHS and limit the waste on PFI and marketization