Gareth Iacobucci. Patient care is at risk from lack of new funds in autumn statement, healthcare leaders warn. BMJ 2016;355:i6356
The government’s failure to commit new funding to the NHS and social care in its autumn statement will put the care of patients at risk, health and social care leaders have warned.
The government was strongly urged ahead of the 23 November statement to revisit its 2015 spending review pledges for health and social care because of the severe pressures across the service.
Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said that the failure to acknowledge the current pressures on the NHS was “alarming.” She said, “Our NHS is underfunded, underdoctored, and overstretched, and today’s lack of additional funding will only exacerbate the grave situation we face.
“The pressures put patient safety and recovery at risk every day of the week. Workforce morale in such circumstances is getting much harder to improve, let alone maintain. Added to this, patients are facing longer waits for treatment, and the number of patients stuck in hospital because of delays in being discharged has increased by 80% in the past five years. This is clearly not sustainable.”
The health think tanks the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund, and the Nuffield Trust, which issued a joint call ahead of the statement calling for social care to be prioritised, said that vulnerable older people would suffer from the decision not to invest extra money into the crisis hit sector.