The NHS is being failed by Government: Yorkshire March for the NHS Leeds 2nd July

Nick Jones writes: Unions are uniting for the Yorkshire march for the NHS in Leeds. Union support and donations have come in from Regional TUC, GMB, UNITE, UNISON, Educators’ union NEU, Teachers’ union NASUWT, Fire Brigade FBU, NUM, Rail workers RMT, trades councils across Yorkshire. The march comes at a crucial time – we must defend health and social care workers and demand funding for the NHS.

Waiting lists and waiting times in hospital accident and emergency wards (A&E) have been growing for years and pre-date the Covid pandemic.

  • Over 6 million patients and rising on the biggest ever waiting lists in England
  • Chronic delays in A&E and increasing numbers of 12-hour trolley waits for those needing admission
  • Deteriorating performance on cancer care predicted to lead to many unnecessary deaths
  • Underfunded mental health provision with an estimated 1.5 million people not receiving care
  • Huge delays in social care assessments and gaps in provision preventing discharge from hospital, moving patients from A&E, and ambulances being available to answer emergency calls
  • The Government promised £34 billion over five years by Theresa May on the 70th anniversary of the NHS, but the NHS would have £35 billion more now if historic spending patterns had been followed
  • NHS staff shortages over 110,000; social care vacancies 170,000
  • Maternity underfunded – understaffed. A report to the House of Commons Health Committee in June 2021 concluded that an increase in funding of £220-£350 million per year was urgently needed to resolve the endemic problems of understaffing. Professor Ted Baker, the Care and Quality Commission’s chief inspector of hospitals, told the committee that its inspections had found 38% of NHS maternity services ‘require improvement for safety’.
  • The Royal College of Midwives survey indicated that 8 out of 10 midwives did not believe that there were enough staff on shift to provide a safe service.
  • NHS providers estimated that an extra 496 consultants were also needed to work in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.*

Instead of increasing funding for the NHS in real terms, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak doubled the efficiency savings target to an impossible 2.2% or an estimated £4.75 billion a year1.

This is incredible with energy bills rising, the cost-of-living increases and the highest inflation for decades. It means cuts in real terms.

Currently, the only eight projects out of the 48 promised new hospitals that might possibly have been funded with the £2.7bn made available are all stalled as the Treasury seeks to reduce public sector spending.

The new Integrated Care Systems are going to start with a collective financial deficit of around £4 billion. According to the Health Service Journal, the West Yorkshire NHS Integrated Care Board may face a deficit of £73 million in their initial estimate of the Board’s Operational Plan2.

We are concerned that efficiency savings and surging inflation will jeopardise the Leeds Children’s Hospital and ambulatory adult care wing project.

The original estimate for the project was £600 million and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust has been required to resubmit revised plans that will cost no more than £400 million.

It is clear that the NHS needs urgent assistance:

  • £20 billion injection of emergency funding as a down payment for what is needed
  • Investment in above inflation pay increase for NHS staff to attract and retain employees
  • Ensure that investment is channelled into reopening, rebuilding and expanding the NHS and its capacity to meet the challenges ahead; not funding the private sector that is profiting from ill health
  • A firm commitment to cover the costs for the 48 promised new hospitals including the Children’s hospital in Leeds

Leeds Keep Our NHS Public has organised a march on July 2nd to call for funding including the promised new hospitals, together with pay justice for staff and to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the NHS. The march will assemble outside the Town Hall at 11.30, and will be led by a samba band and conclude with short speeches from NHS staff and others. All are welcome.


*P112, NHS Under Siege, John Lister and Jacky Davis, Merlin Press 2022

1 RCN dubs Sunak’s efficiency savings a ‘false economy’ – Nursing in Practice

1 comment

One response to “The NHS is being failed by Government: Yorkshire March for the NHS Leeds 2nd July”

  1. Fight for fully funded, fully staffed NHS maternity care.
    This is the only part of the health sevice used by every human. Maternity is not a side show in the NHS, nor should it be in our campaigns. The risk to mother and baby if this care is not available is life threatening, life changing and life long. Indeed at times such damage goes beyond the two generations when grandparents and grandchildren’s lives are impacted.
    Midwives are leaving the service because of workpressures and safety issues, leaving far faster than they are trained.
    Ockendon’s reports make the situation brutally clear.Migrant charges in the NHS and the consquential deaths and misery demonstrate the importance of world class universal healthcare free at the point of need, from a nationally run nationally regulated health service.
    Every human is born by a woman.
    Every mother and baby needs maternity care.
    The situation for NHS maternity is grim.
    The parliamentary committee said how much more funding was needed for maternity, half was provided. Donna Ockendon said how much was needed. Again not provided but cuts imposed on hospitals as the big reorganisation gets under way..
    Shout out for maternity services, cry longer and louder than a baby with terrible colic, until the government can’t resist.

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