A damning report by the British Medical Association (BMA) has revealed that emergency waiting times have increased by 6,831%. Under Conservative control, the number of patients waiting for 12 or more hours is soaring. After enduring ”the worst winter on record”, BMA chiefs are claiming that the crisis is becoming a “year round problem“. And with the NHS a key vote winner, this news may bring a chill to Theresa May.
The BMA report has confirmed the fears of many doctors. A 6,831% increase in 12-hour waits suggests that the service cannot keep up with increasing demand. Longer waits mean delayed treatment, increased risk and overcrowded hospitals. And this was despite the winter itself posing no worsening challenge. BMA Chair Dr Mark Porter told The Mirror:
This new analysis is particularly stark because it wasn’t a bad winter in terms of external factors. The weather was mild and there were no widespread outbreaks of flu or norovirus.
The pressure the NHS is under is purely down to bad political choices, with years of chronic under-funding and investment in services failing to keep up with patient demand.
Can we take much more?
With underfunding a key problem in a stretched NHS, doctors are speaking out. And with a recent legal challenge won by Dr Chris Day, they have new powers to do so. And they fear that these problems are just the start. Porter states:
Pressures previously only seen during the winter months are now becoming the norm year-round, as current trends suggest that performance will continue to deteriorate rather than improve.
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Dr Youssef El-Gingihy blames years of corporate outsourcing, increasing privatisation and a corporate capture of government for increasing problems. He told The Canary:
[There has been] £40bn in cuts & tens of billions syphoned off to corporations & banks. [We must] restore NHS as publicly provided, owned & funded.
Others explain the problem further. Dr Hannah Arnstein told The Canary:
The actual answer is funding cuts. GPs can’t cope. More social funding cuts means more patients to A&E. The only way to fix it is to pour more money in and try and improve working conditions for NHS staff so they don’t leave after qualifying or burnout.
Who is to blame? The Tories in general and Jeremy Hunt
There is no doubt that the NHS is struggling. A record deficit, a winter with the highest excess mortality on record, increased waiting times, and doctors leaving in droves. And all this pales in comparison to public outcries, with online groups vilifying a government they hold culpable. Twitter user Gazd007 tweeted:
A Tory Government that does not care about ppl, apart from the 1%.
Tories do not care about the NHS or it's staff.
— Gazd007 #NHSLove #OurNHS (@MrGazd007) May 26, 2017
But others have gone so far as to accuse the Government of not just incompetence, but deliberate corruption:
Break NHS to justify privatisation to the politically illiterate.
Too many Torys have links to private health companies. CORRUPT?
— Debra Brown (@Margrilly) May 26, 2017
And to add to the insult, frontline staff have singled out the root cause. Dr Arnstien declares:
Who is to blame? The Tories in general and Jeremy Hunt.
A chilling warning
With a dismal winter and doctors pointing the finger directly at the Conservatives, the NHS is sending a chilling warning. As Surgeon Rishi Dhir commented in this video:
The NHS is not safe in Conservative hands.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives only praise and celebrate their handling of the NHS. It may be that the disconnect between the managers and the frontline is beginning to cost lives.
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