As the NHS birthday celebrations die down, it’s time to take stock.
The TUC’s All Together for the NHS campaign predicts that by the time the NHS reaches 71 years of age, it could be losing out on £25bn worth of funding. This real terms freeze in funding* means that although the economy is growing, health care spending is not, in fact…it’s just the opposite.
NHS funding shortfalls have already caused widespread loss in services, a four year pay freeze and it looks like we are set for more of the same over the next few years. Healthcare workers are angry, doctors are angry and, the public are angry. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady sums the situation up well:
“It may be NHS staff taking the hit in their pay packets now, but if the health service is going to be losing out on funding to the tune of a cool £25.5bn by the end of the decade, it will soon be patients paying the price”.
These figures underline what some of our members already fear, that without investment in our healthcare system, the standards that the UK has set as a world leader, will start to slip. Without the necessary investment, we will find it hard to recruit and retain the doctors so badly needed to care for our aging population and the UK’s ever challenging healthcare needs.
NHS funding and NHS staff pay are long term issues and it is essential that we keep pressing for sensible, lasting solutions which ensure a stable and efficient NHS fit for the coming decades .
You’ll be hearing more from us on this over the coming months. We are preparing to ballot members on the issue of pay as many other health unions have done. In the meantime please let us know your views. It’s essential we work together to ensure the voice of senior doctors is heard.
Last Friday, NHS workers held a day of protest against their treatment over pay, lobbying their MPs and the public. In support of this, I would ask all our members to go online and sign the NHS pay petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/64222
*This calculation by the TUC is based on NHS England’s own projections of zero real terms increases in government spending until the end of the decade. The analysis considers forecast spending on the NHS over the next Parliament (from 2015-2020) compared to the position the health service would have been in at the end of the decade had health spending resumed growth at the same pace that it had during the last Parliament (2005-2010) when there was a 21 per cent increase in spending in real terms.