NHS at watershed moment: NHS Providers letter to the secretary of state for health and social care
NHS Providers has written to the secretary of state for health and social care, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, today (11 January 2018), to outline concerns over the pressures being experienced by frontline health and care services this winter. The organisation, which represents 98% of hospital, mental health, community and ambulance service trusts in England, says this is a watershed moment for the NHS, and the government must accept that the service can no longer deliver what is required of it within current funding.
The letter warns that despite the NHS preparing more extensively than ever before for this winter, there are not enough beds and staff to ensure the standards of care and safety that patients rightly expect. An increase in flu cases, more respiratory illness and cold weather have pushed the service up to and beyond its limits this winter.
NHS Providers says it is now impossible to meet the standards of care set out in the NHS Constitution alongside fully recovering performance targets, consistently maintaining high-quality patient care, investing in the NHS’s capital requirements, and joining up services to deliver 21st century care. It argues that urgent decisions on long-term funding for health and social care must be taken which will allow the NHS to either sustainably deliver all that is required of it under its constitutional standards or change them.
These decisions must be put in place no later than the November Budget or we risk further deterioration in performance, the organisation said. In addition, NHS Providers is calling for a full review of how well the NHS handled this winter.