GPs under pressure from NHS funding cuts
Over recent years we have seen year-on-year systematic reductions in overall funding to general practice.
This has been a cold calculated tactic due to political decisions made at the highest level , namely George Osborne who holds the NHS purse strings.
In 2004 general practice was given approximately 11 per cent of the NHS budget to provide care to every patient in the UK – that means unlimited access to your own GP. It is estimated by 2016 funding will fall to a record low of seven per cent of the NHS budget.
This huge reduction is now showing in increased waiting times, surgeries closing due to the pressure of workload and inability to recruit new doctors.
Those of us working every day in our surgeries see the effects of these funding cuts.
GPs are burnt out, leaving the profession, suffering mental illness, having to close their practices as they can’t recruit doctors or nurses and some are going bankrupt due to all these problems.
We hear fine words from Cameron, Hunt and Osborne about ‘real terms increases’ and ‘protecting the NHS budget’ – all said to mislead and garner votes.
Any NHS employee be they nurse, porter, radiographer, podiatrist or doctor will tell you the NHS is struggling like it never has before due to the Tory’s cuts.
Doctors are no longer attracted to a career in general practice given all the negativity they read in the press and what they hear from colleagues.
GPs in their 50s are desperate to retire as soon as they can and often leave many years earlier than they would have done. Very experienced GPs are then lost to the NHS.
Workload has rocketed with many GPs working 13-14 hour days and dealing with upwards of 60-70 patients a day. This is neither safe nor desirable from the point of good patient care.
Politicians must act and increase NHS funding significantly to ensure our fantastic NHS becomes more stable and gets through this period of cuts and closures.
Tax big boys to help NHS
The NHS is desperate for more funding.
It has virtually had flat-line funding increases since 2009 along with a political drive to save £30bn from the NHS budget – something the Tories conveniently ignore and do not wish to talk about.
No country has ever successfully removed such a huge chunk from a health economy without disastrous effects on the care provided.
Why are politicians demanding this? Surely they will know it will decimate the service, drive doctors and nurses away, diminish patient care and leave the NHS struggling to cope – all things we now see.
Many feel it is deliberate in order to diminish the service and push through the sale of more NHS contracts and services to the private sector.
The UK is a rich country – the sixth richest economy in the world and third richest in Europe.
We can afford the NHS and we can afford to increase its funding dramatically. Politicians have decided not do so.
Why not make sure Google, Amazon or Apple pay adequate tax in the UK on their earnings here instead of squirelling it away abroad.
Why not hypothecate tax from the tobacco or sugary food and drinks industry to fund the NHS.
We should make them pay their fair share of income tax like we all do as UK citizens. The answers are there – it just needs the political will to do it.
If politicians don’t act then the NHS as a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable service could be a thing of the past.
Read more in my book ‘NHS for Sale’ - debunking the myths and deceptions about the NHS - all profits to Keep Our NHS Public.
Doctors’ strike threat
Junior doctors are not ‘junior’ at all.
Often they are doctors in their 30s who are undergoing extensive training to become a consultant or a GP.
They will have families, mortgages and huge responsibilities in the patient care they provide day and night.
Jeremy Hunt has treated them in a shocking fashion.
He has decided to impose a new contract on them that will worsen their working conditions .
Hunt patronises them in the press.
It came to a head last month with an unprecedented vote for strike action.
On a huge 76 per cent turnout, 98 per cent of junior doctors voted for strike action. No such vote has occurred since 1975.
At the last minute the strikes were averted and talks are now continuing but the strikes may still go ahead unless Hunt listens to the serious concerns of our younger doctors.
Who do you trust more – your politician or your doctor……