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The News Line: News BMA welcomes nurses summer of protest! THE British Medical Association yesterday welcomed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to give the NHS an extra £37 billion over the course of the next Parliament, including £10 billion of capital funding to make sure that NHS buildings and IT systems are fit for the modern day. (see page 3)


Corbyn made the pledge at the Royal College of Nursing annual conference as he outlined the Labour Party’s ‘New Deal for the NHS’. Corbyn declared: ‘Today we are pledging an extra £7.4 billion a year for the NHS throughout the next Parliament, including £2 billion annually to modernise buildings and IT systems.’

Dr Mark Porter, British Medical Association council chair, responded: ‘The NHS is chronically understaffed and underfunded, so the promise of additional investment is desperately needed. It is important to remember, however, that the funding gap in the NHS will soon hit £30bn a year.

‘This is having a devastating impact on patients who are facing unacceptably long delays in care, and staff who are working under impossible conditions in an NHS at breaking point. The NHS is currently bearing the brunt of cyber-attacks due to reliance on obsolete software – another example of the effect of cutting investment to the bone, and a serious wake up call for politicians to the risks of starving the NHS of necessary funding.

‘Doctors are calling on the next government to, as a minimum, bring spending on the NHS in line with other European countries, which would see it rise by more than £10bn a year. This is will only go some way to plugging the enormous funding gap however, and if the NHS is to survive, it needs credible and sustainable plans to deliver the fully funded and supported NHS that staff want and patients deserve.’

The BMA notes that NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View estimates that the NHS in England is heading for a mismatch between resources and patient needs of nearly £30 billion a year by 2020/21. It suggests that to close the gap, the NHS needs to achieve efficiency gains of 2% to 3% each year combined with staged funding increases close to “flat real per person”. This has been interpreted as a funding increase of £8 billion and annual efficiency savings of £22 billion.’

BMA leader Porter has welcomed the RCN ‘summer of protests’ and threat of industrial action over the NHS 1% pay cap. Porter said on Sunday: ‘Year after year of real-terms pay cuts have had a damaging impact on the morale of frontline NHS staff.

‘Ongoing pay restraint has seen doctors’ pay fall by up to 17% in recent years, leading to staff shortages and impacting on patient care, and doctors across the country will agree with the very strong message sent today by nurses, that the pay cap is unfair, unacceptable and must be lifted.’
 
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