From January 2018, we are going to start publishing our Chair Peter Rees' open letters, originally published in The Hampshire Chronicle, as a regular feature. Keep an eye out on our newly created Members' Blog for Peter's letters, and much, much more.
NHS WINTER PRESSURES
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust are to be congratulated for being awarded extra funding. They have exceeded expectations and show exemplary leadership in their care of patients, more than can be said of the government that controls the purse strings. More intent on mass privatisation and profit for business not patients, on the day when Carillion goes into administration, the Tory government continues not to serve the nation.
The NHS is enduring a national winter crisis. Winter pressures, predicted by the government but not funded for it has meant unacceptable waits for patients, delays in treatment or discharge and unsafe care. Patients are being treated in ambulances because the Tories have cut bed space to the bone in every trust. People are suffering the indignity of being examined on trollies and in corridors because there is not space for dignity or privacy. NHS staff including GPs are at risk because of the consistently long hours they are working. They give themselves selflessly to their patients, regardless of their own health and wellbeing.
This crisis was predicted by NHS England. The Secretary of State compounded the emergency by cancelling all planned surgery in January. This is quite likely to become the norm, to be followed by a repetition in February. There are simple answers.
- More funding to allow hospitals and primary care services to increase capacity and maintain services
- Funding to allow for increasing the workforce, training and capacity
- Appropriately integrated social care to improve patient flow
- The investment and delivery of a radical upgrade of measures to prevent ill-health and hospital admissions.
- An honest debate about what kind of health and social care system people should expect and how funding can be sustained.
Planning for better NHS funding over 15 to 20 years through a hypothecated ring-fenced tax mechanism is an absolute priority, but planning for next winter is an urgent necessity if we are to avoid the totally Tory created unacceptable condition of our NHS.
Yours sincerely, Peter Rees Chair Winchester Constituency Labour Party