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Political parties must heed warnings over NHS crisis

Statement from co-leader of the NHA Party, Dr Clive Peedell:

“The latest King’s Fund report on the problems facing the NHS backs up what the NHA Party has long been saying: the A&E crisis is symptomatic of much wider problems within the NHS.  It confirms our assertion that just a small increase in A&E attendances is having a disproportionate impact on waiting times. This is due to pressure on hospital beds and problems with discharging patients due to a lack of social care, and is now leading also to an increase in cancelled operations.

"The gloomy outlook from NHS finance directors should be a warning to politicians from all parties.

"The NHS is clearly suffering the consequences of a disastrous and wasteful £3bn top-down reorganisation, £20bn of  'efficiency savings', flat line funding in the face of a population increase of 2 million since 2010 and goverment cuts to local authority budgets.

"We now have a serious problem that cannot be solved overnight.  Emergency injections of cash are too little too late. We need  urgent cross party consensus to involve representative bodies of the main NHS professional groups to step in and help tackle this crisis.

"There may well be political consensus that the NHS needs more money but none of the main political parties support the abolition of the burdensome and bureacractic market that is haemorraghing billions of pounds away from frontline care, and none of them have pledged are anywhere near enough extra funds to plug the £30bn NHS funding gap by 2021. Attempting  a further £22bn of so-called 'efficiency savings', as suggested by NHS boss Simon Stevens, to a service already cut to the bone and struggling to survive, is unrealistic and reckless and could push it over the edge."

"The National Health Action Party proposes a rise in income tax of 1p to plug the funding gap because we believe that healthcare spending should be seen as an investment, not a cost to the country. There is clear evidence that health spending has a multiplier effect on economic growth by keeping the population healthy and economically active.

"Ultimately, the long term future of the NHS is a political choice. Unfortunately the main political parties have all chosen a path that will see the demise of the NHS as sustainable healthcare system."

"It is scandalous that the Government knew about the risks to the NHS back in 2010, but vetoed publication of the full NHS risk register. NHS managers and frontline professionals could have planned much earlier and much better for these problems, but Government incompetence has prevented this."


Details of King's Fund report: http://qmr.kingsfund.org.uk/2015/14/overview


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