Cuts Watch #100: BMA warns on health cuts
The British Medical Association has released the results of a survey that shows that health cuts are already a reality.
On top of the news that NHS jobs are being lost in the Secretary of State for Health’s own constituency, the BMA survey of the Chairs of the BMA’s Local Negotiating Committees found that:
- 24% said redundancies were planned in their organisation;
- 62% said there was a freeze on recruitment (and 55% of those with no freeze said there were unfilled vacancies);
- 72% said they were postponing or cancelling clinical service developments for financial reasons;
- 42% said they were limiting prescribing for financial reasons;
- 40% said they were limiting access to treatments or therapies for financial reasons;
- 45% said they were being consulted on their trust or board’s plans for cost and efficiency savings of, on average, 6%t.
BMA Chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: “Despite the government’s best assurances that front-line services will be protected, our data show that cuts are already being planned or becoming reality and that these will have an impact on doctors’ ability to care for their patients.”
Things may, however, get worse. Over the weekend, a number of Conservative MPs, including Health Committee member Nadine Dorries and former Chancellor Nigel Lawson came out in opposition to the Coalition’s proclaimed policy of protecting the NHS from cuts. Some of these concerns are undoubtedly ideological, but, as Martin Wolff has pointed out (registration needed) the sheer scale of the other cuts planned by the coalition may make the ring-fencing of health untenable.