Record number of patients are facing longer waits than ever in A&E's as documents leaked recently show the full extent of the winter crisis in the NHS in England. Nearly 25% of patients arriving at A&E had to wait longer than 4 hours. To add on to this, a number of people faced long waits for a bed when A&E staff admitted them into hospital, with more than 18,000 trolley waits of four hours or more. Some 485 of them were longer than 12 hours. These figures are alarming to us, so what exactly can be done to tackle this issue?
Well, the department of education recently have proposed a 25% increase in junior medical student to help more homegrown doctors work in the department. However, the NHS is short on money, so the wages issue must be tackled also. Furthermore, the NHS have offered paramedics a £10,000 bonus to tackle the 999 crisis, keeping ambulances arriving on time to the patients in need of assistance.
Much criticism has been targeted at the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, whose tax budget has helped build up Brexit reserves, and not tackle the NHS crisis. With many doctors urgently calling for additional funding to aid them, the government is struggling to cope with the demands. With junior doctor salaries at their lowest ever, students are drifting away from choosing medicine.
There has also been many people campaigning about the treatment of nurses and staff within hospitals, with the average hours worked in a day increased in the last 4 years. People believed the overworked nurses are more likely to perform mistakes and are not being paid enough for what they do. The hospitals and surgeries are having problems with staffing, with increased pressure and demand on services from an ageing population.
The NHS in West Yorkshire is proposing to reduce its projected £800m deficit by cutting enough hospital beds to fill five wards. Eight billion pounds was pledged in the Conservative 2015 election manifesto and in 2014, George Osborne agreed a further £2bn for frontline services, however campaigners say this is not enough to keep the NHS afloat.
To conclude, the huge financial pressure and problems faced with overspending have left the NHS in no good state, and with the government struggling to cope with the financial issues, doctors may start to stop doing what they do best: save lives.
Over 10,000 protestors have taken to the streets, down central London and outside Parliament, with the purpose of demonstrating against the attacks directed towards the NHS (National Health Service). The government especially is facing a vast amount of criticism after cuts; closures and privatisation of hospitals have worsened the health care throughout the country. The protestors claimed their outrage in the NHS was due to, “yet more austerity”, perhaps because cuts to the healthcare are a great risk, being one of the most important branches of public service. ‘#OurNHS’ was a common sighting, with worry that 2/3 hospital services in England being cut back, which would indeed concern the great public. The March started around Tavistock Square, then ended in Westminster, accompanying over 250,000 people, which illustrates the scale of the problem and the grand effects it has on people lives. Posters filled the air, with messages that included, ‘Keep your dirty hands of our hospital jobs’ and ‘cut the bone’, it does not seem as though the government is fulfilling her vision for the country, which was, “Together we will build a better Britain”. Many of the Union leaders remarked that the NHS services “are on their knees”, with a limit to economic support, there is only room for little social improvement. The March is being classified as one of the biggest NHS demonstrations to date, reflecting upon the severity of the situation.
The labour leader party, Jeremy Corbyn, showed up to heroically challenge the government and back supporters by claiming, “Don’t let them tell you there’s no money for the NHS. There’s no excuse for it… the money is there if you collect the taxes properly to fund it and pay for it”. Here, Corbyn has clamped his foot down and spoke the truth for the majority, which ultimately questions which service the government is prioritising their spending on. However, the ‘sustainability transformation plans’ (SMP), were set up by the government across England in order improve the NHS but have just resulted in “privatisation” and “cuts”, having the complete opposite effect. Further speakers included Bernie Saunder’s brother, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Coronation street star, Julie Hesmondhalgh. Len McCluskey asserted that “I am marching because I am furious. Tories destroying the greatest gift the people of this country have created”. The Deputy Chairmen for the British medical association council, Dr David Wrigley proclaimed, “a cry for help for anyone who uses the NHS”, “in such a desperate situation”. “We need to highlight it. As a doctor, I see day to day the serious pressures in the NHS due to the funding cuts from the government”.
Amongst the demonstrators was Felix Ramos, an individual who stood beside a coffin whilst on the march, he proclaimed a very valid point that “Many people are not going to get the help they need. If you do not have health, there is no life”. He correctly elaborated that, “Privatisation does not work for life. It is not going to care for the vulnerable but it might care for people who can afford special treatment. It is not for the majority”. In 2015, the department for work and pensions said 5 million people are on benefits with such a high majority, the government is not doing the country a favour through privatisation. The department of health spoke about a future investment of £4 billion into the NHS, but who would this really benefit, only those who can afford the cost. The protest is hoped to have opened the government eyes on the real situation of the NHS, before the budget next week.