Tories use ‘winter crisis’ to scrap thousands of ops!

West London Council of Action campaigning to save Ealing Hospital’s A&E – picketing alongside junior doctors during their last strike
West London Council of Action campaigning to save Ealing Hospital’s A&E – picketing alongside junior doctors during their last strike

THE TORY war on the NHS is continuing with thousands of operations to be cancelled and senior doctors diverted from operating theatres under the guise that this will have to be done to stop the NHS from buckling under the strain of the Winter crisis.

The savage NHS cuts carried out by the government have created the situation where working people are being told that if the A&Es are to carry on working over the coming Winter months tens of thousands of much needed operations must be scrapped.

Sarah Cook, Head of Health at Unite, told News Line: ‘The NHS should be properly funded there is chronic and acute under funding that is causing this crisis. This is not helped by the attitude of the government towards the junior doctors as the government have not been helpful in resolving that dispute. Surely cancelling lots of operations will put even more pressure on the NHS in the long term.’

The national plan, detailed in evidence to the House of Commons health select committee, has sent alarm bells ringing in hospitals up and down the country as the proposal will undoubtedly cost lives as operations are forfeited because the Tories will not finance the NHS.

The plans will see the cancellation of thousands of operations and appointments in the run-up to Christmas, with senior doctors asked to concentrate on discharging any patients who are deemed ‘well enough’ to be sent home, in a bid to free up beds.

Each hospital trust has been ordered to draw up specific plans to cope this winter, with new ‘A&E delivery boards’ to be set up within a fortnight. A&Es have been closed up and down the country putting extreme pressure on the remaining hospitals.

In evidence to the MPs’ inquiry, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said hospitals are ‘buckling’ under the strain of rising demand. The Royal College of Nursing warned of a ‘drastic’ shortage of staff. Official figures show 6,000 more A&E attendances daily, compared with six years ago, with rising demand from an aging population.

Dr Cliff Mann, RCEM president said: ‘What is really worrying is that when you look at last winter, the NHS came under very heavy pressures despite mild weather and little flu. All it would take is a bad flu outbreak this winter and we would be poleaxed.’

Meanwhile GPs have been told to refer patients to private hospitals in a bid to cut local NHS hospital trusts’ waiting times, while the NHS picks up the bill, it was revealed yesterday.

GPs in Hertfordshire have been told by NHS Herts Valley CCG to refrain from referring patients to West Hertfordshire NHS Trust (WHHT) for non-urgent appointments wherever possible.

This has particularly encouraged GPs to not refer for certain specialties, including cardiology, ENT, urology, pain, and general surgery. Instead GPs have been told to refer patients to alternative hospitals, including local private providers, while the trust is in the process transferring existing referrals to the private hospitals.