Immediate release – 20 May 2015
The latest declaration by David Cameron to make the NHS ‘7-day working’ appears attractive but is superficial and deeply flawed. It threatens to wreck staff morale in promising to provide something that is at best misplaced, at worst privatisation by stealth.
As health campaigner Dr David Wrigley says, let’s get general practice working properly on 5 days a week first:
- Serious underfunding is already damaging NHS staff morale.
- The government has already signalled its intentions to make ends meet by ending unsocial hours payments for NHS staff, despite evidence that this is fair compensation for the need to work when most would not even consider doing so.
- GP places are already seriously under-staffed. Expanding the demand on GPs even further cannot help.
- The biggest irony is that, if the true cost of running the NHS as a market were admitted and waste of public money stopped, adequately funded and staffed 7-day working would be affordable. Instead, millions of pounds are wasted on competitive bids and countless hours of managerial time are squandered trying to resolve the consequent mess. Privatisation where none is needed, wanted, or publicly agreed.
- Dr Wrigley’s comments echoed reservations expressed by BMA Council Chair, Dr Mark Porter. Dr Porter described Cameron’s announcement as ‘empty headline grabbing’.
Keep Our NHS Public Co-Chair, Professor Sue Richards, said:
‘David Cameron’s signature policy style is to grab a superficially attractive idea but not put the hard graft into making it happen in a coherent way. At a time when the NHS, especially in primary care, is on the verge of breaking down, and the NHS has paid over £3bn in the last year to hire agency doctors and nurses to fill shifts that cannot be filled any other way, he proposes to extend the hours of service. Is this a well-meaning, soon-to-be-forgotten initiative, like the Big Society? Or is it an attempt to raise public expectations so that people cease their attachment to the NHS, and line up behind its privatisation as they so clearly failed to do at the last election? Only time will tell, but do not expect to go to see your GP on a Sunday afternoon any time soon.’
Contact KONP Campaigns and Press Officer Alan Taman – 07870 757 309