The evening before the Budget of 22 November, health campaigners from Oxford and several London branches of Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together joined The People’s Assembly’s pre-budget protest against austerity behind a huge food-bank on Whitehall and many NHS banners across from Downing Street. We drew attention to the Government’s underfunding of the NHS ahead of the Autumn Budget next day.
Despite leaders of multiple NHS organisations, think tanks and politicians pleading with the Government to properly fund the NHS – a message ringing out from health professionals, experts and campaigners – Hammond pledged an extra £2.8 billion over the next 3 years. With £1.6 billion extra for 2018/19, this is under half of what experts told the Government was needed to keep the service running.
Simon Stevens’ request for the £350 million a week for the NHS, promised in the run up to the Brexit vote, was ignored. The NHS is in fact getting £350 million to see it through the whole winter.
Health chiefs have commented that this simply isn’t good enough and they threaten to start publicly reneging on NHS targets.
Creating even more pressure on the NHS is this Government’s continuing apathy towards Social Care. There was no mention of more money for Social Care in the Budget, demonstrating the Government’s attempts to wash its hands of Local Government and pretend that social care is not its problem.
Ignoring Social Care creates more strain on NHS services and KONP urges the Government to pay more into the social care budget in addition to the NHS.
The MP for Lincoln, Karen Lee, refuted in Parliament Sajid Javid’s claim that the Government is funding the NHS adequately.
Yesterday I made an intervention in the House after Sajid Javid described a rosy situation in our NHS. As a nurse, that certainly isn’t the way I see things: pic.twitter.com/ZgbaVMuw8N
— Karen Lee (@KarenLeeMP) November 24, 2017
Lee later tweeted her dissappointment with the Budget stating: “The Chancellor had a real chance to change course, but instead we have more austerity and a budget that works for the few”
No one sums up the crisis better than Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, responding to Hugh Pym’s tweet quoting the chair of NHS England.
This weak budget has failed the nation and pushes the UK, perhaps deliberately, as it could have been avoided, towards a 2-tier healthcare system that will hurt everyone, but most of all children & the most vulnerable https://t.co/ajNGNJOebx
— Neena Modi (@RCPCHPresident) November 23, 2017
Mainstream news outlets have picked up the bleak outlook for the NHS after the budget announcement:
The BBC – NHS Budget plan not enough, say bosses
The Telegraph – £2.8bn cash boost for NHS is not enough complain hospital chiefs
Belfast Telegraph – Budget 2017: NHS bosses to discuss ‘what is possible to deliver for patients’
Other News items have also referred to the fact that nurses were ignored and that the abhorrent cap on their wages remains in tact. #scrapthecap
Slept on it.
Full of anger today.
This government are laughing at my profession whilst we work in crumbling conditions to help care for the nation.
We deserve fair pay.
We deserve better.
We deserve respect. #ScrapTheCap
— Danielle T (@daniellejade198) November 23, 2017