Tory NHS Funding Scandal

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THE TORY government’s claim that it is injecting an extra £10bn into the NHS in England over the next five years is simply ‘misleading,’ the Health Select Committee said.

BMA chair of council Dr Mark Porter responded yesterday: ‘Theresa May talks about injecting £10bn into the NHS, yet in reality the increase in health spending is less than half of that.’

‘The notion that the funding crisis can be solved with further efficiency savings is a myth, and these are not savings, they are year-on-year cuts that have driven almost every acute trust in England into deficit, led to a crisis in general practice and a community and social care system on the brink of collapse.

‘The BMA has been urging this government to be honest about NHS funding for some time and our calls are now being echoed by experts and interested parties from all sides of the political landscape now. The prime minister and chancellor need to explain how exactly the NHS will keep up with rising demand without the necessary investment.

‘The NHS is already the most efficient health care system in the world. The NHS needs urgent action to put it on sustainable financial footing. Failure to invest now will result in a disaster in the future, both financially and in terms of patient health and care.’

In a session of the House of Commons Health Committee, its chair Dr Sarah Wollaston asked health secretary Jeremy Hunt whether he felt people were wrongly given the ‘misleading impression that the NHS is awash with cash’.

The Health Committee has now written to the chancellor to say using the £10bn figure gives a ‘false impression.’ The figure is calculated in real terms once inflation has been taken into account and includes £2bn which was announced in the last Parliament. The health committee says that while the figure is not ‘incorrect,’ it is ‘misleading’ because it can only be reached by adding an extra year to the spending review period, changing the date from which the real terms increase is calculated and disregarding the total health budget.

Meanwhile a third of all NHS health authorities are planning to close down A&Es. Furthermore, almost half of NHS authorities are drawing up plans to cut hospital beds. New research shows that the government’s deep cuts mean that hospitals are poised to carry out the biggest closure programme in the history of the NHS.

The Health Committee’s Third Report of 2016-17, Winter pressure in accident and emergency departments, will be published on Thursday morning.