Efficiency Savings – a sugar coated term for Funding cuts – will affect the NHS to deliver primary care in a professional way. Dr Kailash Chand OBE, one of the senior most GPs in the country and the Chair of BMA Northwest Council, comments on the cash crisis at NHS. A special for Asian Lite News
The proposed £22 billion of ‘efficiency savings’ and Brexit mean that there are very grim times ahead for the NHS.
The NHS is now at a more pivotal stage than it has ever been since I became a GP more than 30 years ago. NHS funding almost froze after 2010 (rising by only 0.7% per year compared to the long term average of 3.7% per year). ‘Efficiency targets’, a pseudonym for funding cuts, brought NHS hospitals and general practice to their knees.
Cuts in the name of ‘efficiency savings’ have eaten away at the NHS to the point where it is down to its bare bones. Health spending is facing almost unimaginable cuts over the next five years. Every health think-tank has been sounding the alarm in recent months.
In addition, significant cuts in social care and district nursing budgets have led to increasing hospital activity, a critical shortage of hospital beds and a crisis in primary care. The myth that the NHS budget is protected is over. Even if health spending continued to rise with inflation, as it has since 2010, age-adjusted spending per person would be 9% lower in 2018 than in 2010. On top of this, these “efficiency savings” are unfeasible and dangerous and will push an NHS already teetering on the brink right over the cliff edge. Hospitals and GP practices around the country are at breaking point and need urgent, extra investment to maintain even basic care to their patients. The British public deserves nothing less than a well-financed and functional NHS with happy and productive staff. I call upon Theresa May to provide immediate clarity on the fiscal health of the NHS over the coming year.