BMA leaders have warned the government that it must put the NHS at the forefront of campaigning for the forthcoming general election.
Dr Mark Porter, the chair of the British Medical Association, warned that the NHS faces being marginalised by the focus on Brexit.
“Health is always one of the most important issues for the people of this country and with the NHS at breaking point, having been put through one of the worst winters on record, it must be a central issue in the upcoming election. The NHS must not be pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit. Staff have ensured that we still have one of the best health services in the world, but years of underinvestment while patient demand has been rising means that it is now failing too many people, too often,” Porter commented.
The head of the BMA noted that the NHS faces some unique pressures and problems at present, and called on the incoming government to address the shortfall in NHS staff and funding rapidly.
“I say words countryside This fieldOur hospitals and GP surgeries are full and social care is on its knees, with staff working under impossible conditions. There are crippling funding and staffing shortages undermining the delivery of safe care, and serious question marks over the future of thousands of EU citizens who are a vital part of the NHS.”
The relevance of Porter’s comments can perhaps be underlined by a recent study conducted by an Exeter medical school, which discovered that approximately 40% of GPs will quit the NHS in the next five years.
One can only imagine the impact on the already creaky healthcare system, which suffered a massive crisis over a winter period that was unusually mild.
Thus, it is hardly surprising that the independent Doctors and Dentists Review Body recently warned it was unclear how GP services could be maintained in the face of the growing workforce crisis.
Announcing plans to ask parliament to approve the snap general election, May stated that the election would give the UK the “strong and stable leadership” it needs for Brexit.
But Dr Porter warned that the general election must not ignore the health service.
“Consecutive governments have been in denial about the state of the NHS and when it comes to elections have chosen to use it as a political football. Our health and social care systems can no longer cope without urgent action. We call on politicians of all parties not to duck this crisis any longer, and instead to outline credible and sustainable plans that will safeguard the future of the fully funded and supported NHS that staff want and patients deserve.”
It is widely expected that the Conservative party will gain a significant majority at the June election.