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BMA renews calls for NHS funding to avoid year-round crisis


By Valeria Fiore
Journalist intern
22 May 2018

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The BMA is now renewing calls on the Government to adequately fund the NHS to avert a year-long crisis.

A damning analysis published yesterday (21 May) by the British Medical Association (BMA) has confirmed that the recent winter was the worst on record.

The NHS recorded raising level of A&E attendances, waiting times, trolley waits and bed occupancy level this year, with hospitals struggling to meet the targets, said the BMA.

Frontline staff’s perceptions of the winter crisis

Along with their analysis, the BMA found that 82% or the 959 respondents to a frontline staff survey said that they felt their place of work was under-resourced.

Some respondents even specified that in some cases, admin staff were asked to help with clinical tasks.

Some 46% of respondents believe that the mass cancellation of elective operations did not have any impact on their work.

Winter pressures were particularly felt by GPs, with 73% said that their workload was higher than the previous winter, compared with 59% of consultants and 61% of junior doctors.

A year-round crisis

The BMA analysis found that, for what concerns performance against the four-hour wait target, the figure dropped from 87.2% in 2016/17 to 85% in 2017/18. However, a slight improvement was recorded in April, when performance reached 88.5%.

A department of health and social care spokesperson (DHSC) said: ‘It is encouraging to see that thanks to the hardwork and dedication of NHS staff there has been some improvement in A&E waiting times, treating nearly 2,500 more patients a day within four hours in April compared to March 2018.’

However, the BMA had previously warned that the NHS might experience winter-like pressures this summer if the NHS fails to increase health spending.

Increase spending

Commenting on the findings, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘The government must urgently increase spending to address systemic pressures, and review its long-term strategy for the health service.’

The Prime Minister announced the long-term plans for the NHS in March, although she did not specify whether the plans will include social care and what timeframe they will cover.

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