Join the campaign for full funding of health and social care
Deliberate underfunding – state neglect
The public has been served admirably by our excellent NHS through difficult times. But now the NHS is hanging on by the finger tips of its truly heroic staff, frequently working extra shifts to cope with vacancies and often putting in hours of unpaid overtime. They cannot continue to do this and over the last 2-3 years, the NHS has entered a dangerous phase of decompensation. It is seriously struggling to cope and there are nearly 4 million on waiting lists – predicted to be 5 million by 2020/21; failures in cancer waiting times from referral to treatment threaten lives; and a failure to hit the 95% target for being treated within 4 hours in A&E for this whole past 12 months endangers patients and places intolerable pressure on staff!
And all of this in the context of shocking reductions in social care budgets.
The NHS has suffered its worst funding reduction ever, relative to actual need, under the eleven financial years 2010/11 to 2020/21 of first the Coalition Government (2010-2015) and then the Conservative Government (2015-2017 and 2017-current).
Under this regime, the necessary annual growth in NHS funding of 4% has been held back to an average of 1% – that is a 21%+ shortfall in funding over 7 years to 2016/17 – rising to 33%+ shortfall by the end of the four years to 2020/21. The Government knows this is crushing the NHS.
The £20bn Nicholson Challenge of shortfall in NHS funding in the first five years has been followed by the £22bn underfunding spelled out in Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View – a plan motivated by the Treasury’s insistence on delivering this unprecedented underfunding of the NHS – rising to a £26bn shortfall at least by the end of the 6-year period to 2020/21.
120,000 excess deaths
There is no doubt that this NHS austerity is (a) deliberate and (b) frankly dangerous.
First, a wide range of politicians, think tanks and NHS employer organisations line up in condemnation of Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health since July 2012 and the Government of which he is part. See our post on this here.
Now a landmark study (BMJ Open November 2017) lays bare the deadly impact of this Government’s austerity policy and the attack on health and social care, estimating 120,000 excess deaths 2010-2017 and up to 150,000 between 2015 and 2020:
Since 2010, England has experienced relative constraints in public expenditure on healthcare (PEH) and social care (PES) … Spending constraints between 2010 and 2014 were associated with an estimated 45,368 … higher than expected number of deaths compared with pre-2010 trends [95% confidence interval (CI) 34 530 to 56 206] … Projections to 2020 based on 2009-2014 trend was cumulatively linked to an estimated 152,141 … additional deaths [95% CI 134,597 and 169,685] … Spending constraints, especially [in social care], are associated with a substantial mortality gap.
NHS funding per person is now planned to fall
Funding for the NHS is £123.8 billion in 2017/18 increasing to £126.5 billion by 2020/21. This amounts to an increase of only 0.7% per year in real terms – set against the accepted requirement of 4% the NHS received prior to 2010 in order to meet growing need and complexity.
For the first time in decades, the Nuffield reports, next year’s increase of only 0.4% means that ‘per capita’ funding in England will fall from £2,226 per person 2017/18 to £2,220 2018/19.
International comparison of funding
For an international comparison of funding UK and European comparators see NHS Support Federation’s helpful analysis here
Join in the campaign
Keep Our NHS Public – working with Health Campaigns Together – is part of the growing campaign to demand safe and proper funding adequate to meeting the needs of the population. We campaign for a fully and publicly funded NHS and we are advocating that personal social care too, as with the NHS, must be free at the point of use and paid for from public funding. Join Keep Our NHS Public – see here and join one of our over 70 branches round the country (find your local group)
NHS Support Federation is working with the TUC (Trades Union Congress) to monitor the twin threats of advancing privatisation and the impact of cuts across the NHS. tion.We support the work of NHS Support Federation – have a look at the main site: nhscampaign.org here and, with the special focus on NHS funding cuts and STP plans, see its special site healthcheck.nhsfunding.info/fundournhs/ here. There you can put in your postcode and find out more about the funding cut and STP plans for your area.
Affiliate your campaign or trade union branch to Health Campaigns Together. There are over 80 affiliated bodies in this rapidly growing alliance. Find out about your local area’s health plans (STPs) from HCT here