unsurprisingly, theresa may’s funding boost for the nhs is nowhere near enough

Is it really that hard?

by Annie Lord
02 July 2018, 12:58pm

Still from BBC interview via Youtube

The NHS is always there for us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re suffering from a life threatening disease, have a gammy rash that’s keeping you up at night, or need your stomach pumped because you drank too much Echo Falls Summer Fruits in the park -- you can always go there to be looked after. But, as we all know, the NHS is not well. There are four hour queues, exhausting waitlists and an acute staff shortage. Britain’s health service needs saving, but unsurprisingly the money Theresa May pledged earlier this month is nowhere near enough to meet the needs of our population.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the universal healthcare system we know and love, May promised to increase annual spending to £135bn by 2023-24, a £20bn increase on this year’s budget -- an average annual increase of 3.4%. She promised more doctors and nurses, while cutting cancer deaths and improving mental health services.

Despite the announcement, according to Sir Amyas Morse, a National Audit Office comptroller, the funding boost only serves to maintain current service levels as they are, and would not be sufficient to provide for a rapidly changing demographic. By this, he is referring to Britain’s growing and ageing population, and those 15 million people who already suffer from long-term health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart or lung problems, dementia or depression.

“The funding increases we have heard about are very much welcome but are just in healthcare,” he said to the Guardian. “Nonetheless, nobody is pretending it is doing more than sustaining the current services.”

The NHS needs to improve the amount of care it provides to those with a mental illness, with only one in four people in trouble receiving help from the service. Morse criticised May’s 2017 claim that the Conservative government has introduced a "parity of esteem" in relation to mental health, claiming it created an expectation that could not be met.

“When you announce ‘parity of esteem’ on mental health, those words are carefully crafted but for most people they sound like ‘we are going to do a lot more in mental health’. So to make an announcement like that is significant”, he said. “That would push us in that direction whether or not the funds are all necessarily available. When you make statements like that you are creating expectations. You are unlocking demand.”

Morse also wants patients to receive far more healthcare at home rather than in hospitals, to avoid costly and potentially dangerous stays and to keep people independent for longer. “The best thing you can do for someone is to keep them out of hospital and living well. And that’s not just old people,” he said.

Morse went on to claim that there should be sufficient common ground across the political parties to formulate a united vision for health and social care in the 21st century and secure extra funding. “As we mark the 70th birthday, political leaders should be leading a debate about where we want this national asset to go and they should aim high,” he said “This is a topic where there is a lot of consensus out there. I would like politicians to be willing to think bigger.”

Morse’s intervention comes in the wake of an announcement from the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens, confirmed that planning was going into making sure the NHS was prepared for a no-deal Brexit which would result in a shortfall in vital medicines. “Nobody is in any doubt whatsoever that ... in terms of ensuring continued supplies for all the thing that we need in this country, at the top of the list has got to be those medical supplies,” Stevens saidon the Andrew Marr Show.

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theresa may