NHS goodwill is ‘running out’, ministers have warned
Ministers can no longer tap ‘a well of goodwill that has completely dried up’ to run the NHS, a British Medical Association leader will say, as he calls on the government to reverse ‘brutal’ cuts pre- pandemics in health services.
One hundred thousand NHS vacancies remain vacant as the health service continues to battle a waiting list backlog due to the coronavirus pandemic, which the chairman of the board of the British Medical Association (BMA) describes as a “crisis of unimaginable proportions.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, in his final speech in the role, will warn that the UK has 50,000 fewer doctors in England than the average for members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes France , Germany, Canada and Japan, and said the government “needs to wake up, open its eyes and realize that we cannot afford to lose a single doctor if patients are not to suffer more”.
You can’t run an NHS perpetually tapping a well of goodwill that has totally dried up
Addressing the annual meeting of BMA representatives in Brighton. he will warn ministers: ‘You cannot run an NHS perpetually by tapping a well of goodwill that has completely dried up. The doctors will do it and leave.
He will demand the government ‘reverse its brutal pre-pandemic £800m cuts to our public health services, which left us battling Covid blindfolded with no testing capacity in the first wave, flouting the edict of WHO’s “test test test” and leading to the UK having one of the highest levels of infection in the world”.
Referring to a review conducted by the BMA which ‘unequivocally concludes that the UK government has failed in its duty to protect its workforce’, he will say: ‘The lessons of our review demand action today – not in the future – given that a new surge, variant or virus could strike at any time.
He will further demand government guarantees to reverse the ‘drastic deficit’ in hospital beds, not to repeat the ‘shameful waste of billions’ on testing and tracing, and ‘face the stark truth’ of doctor shortages. .
Dr Nagpaul will warn doctors are suffering from total burnout, with up to half saying their mental health has been affected, 50% more likely to retire early and seven in 10 likely to work less hours.
He added that the doctors’ union findings showed that nine out of 10 doctors “fear about making medical errors on a daily basis” due to lack of resources or workforce capacity.
He also hit out at the government over Partygate, saying: ‘It is an absolute insult to the dedication of doctors that while we were filling intravenous fluids for sick patients, they were happily refilling their glasses in defiance of the rules they had themselves established.”