Reacting to the government’s autumn statement, Royal College of Physicians president Professor Jane Dacre gives her view on the lack of new funding for our NHS.
With recorded hospital deficits hitting £2.45 billion, growing waiting lists, underfunding of social care, and growing numbers of emergency departments closing their doors, the decision not to even mention or increase funding is alarming.
The decision not to even mention or increase funding is alarming.
Our NHS is underfunded, underdoctored, overstretched, and today’s lack of additional funding will only exacerbate the grave situation we face. As we highlighted only a few weeks ago, the NHS budget has not kept pace with rising demand for its services. We know that demand for NHS services will increase by 4% every year but, in real terms, NHS funding will increase by only 0.2% per year to 2020.
The pressures of an underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched NHS put patient safety and recovery at risk every day of the week. Workforce morale in such circumstances is getting much harder to improve, let alone maintain. Added to this, patients are facing longer waits for treatment, and the number of patients stuck in hospital because of delays in being discharged has increased by 80% in the past 5 years. This is clearly not sustainable.