Protesters march against hospital cuts
Hospital managers have stepped up their campaign for increased funding after the Prime Minister faced yet another grilling over the NHS “winter crisis” during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.
“Consultants in charge of emergency care at 68 hospitals have told Theresa May that her winter plans have ‘failed to deliver anywhere near what was needed’,” The Times reports. “Frontline doctors speak of more than 120 patients a day being treated on corridors, with ‘some dying prematurely’.”
In a separate letter, the NHS Providers group – which represents hospitals – has warned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt of a “watershed moment” and called for an urgent increase in funding.
The trade body wants Hunt to ditch the long-standing policy of giving the NHS only small budget increases.
NHS Providers claims the policy – “introduced as part of the coalition government’s implementation of austerity in 2010,” notes The Guardian – is damaging patient care, has caused serious staffing problems and is leading to key targets being routinely missed.
The organisation’s chief executive, Chris Hopson, amplified that message in a series of media interviews, warning that targets would have to be abandoned without more cash.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, he said: “We are now at the point when we cannot deliver the NHS constitutional standard, without a long-term funding settlement. The NHS simply no longer has the capacity to deal with the demand that it is currently facing.”
“For the first time ever in NHS history, last year all of the key targets were missed,” Hopson added.
Reports have emerged since Christmas “of patients being left for hours on trolleys in corridors and stuck in ambulances as A&E teams struggle”, says the BBC.
Staff shortages have also resulted in hospices losing beds, and operations and treatments being cancelled or postponed.
“A leaked memo from the head of chemotherapy at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, revealed that treatments were being delayed and the number of chemotherapy cycles had been cut because of a lack of trained specialist staff,” says The Times.
NHS Providers, which represents most of the 240 NHS trusts in England, wants May to commit to increasing the NHS budget to £153bn by 2022-23 – almost £20bn more than is currently planned.
That funding “would pay for the creation of 10,000 to 15,000 beds that hugely overcrowded hospitals desperately need to help them care properly for the growing numbers of very sick people arriving all year round, not just in winter”, says The Guardian.