Responding to comments from the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine today, and concerns raised by BMA members, Professor Phil Banfield, chair of BMA council, said:
“The current situation in the NHS is intolerable and unsustainable, both for our patients and the hard-working staff desperately trying to keep up with incredibly high levels of demand.
“The BMA has repeatedly invited the Government to sit down and talk about the pressures on our health service, but their silence is deafening. It is disingenuous for the Prime Minister to talk about ‘backing the NHS’ in his New Year message, when his own Health Secretary is failing to discuss how this crisis can be fixed.
“Instead of criticising frontline doctors, nurses and paramedics for wanting to be valued and given the facilities to provide treatment and care, the Government should deliver on its obligations to the public. It is just not true that the cost of resolving this mess cannot be afforded by this country. This is a political choice and patients are dying unnecessarily because of that choice.
“The Government must step up and take immediate action. Without intervention, waiting lists will continue to grow, patients will continue to suffer, and staff will continue to leave. The future of the NHS is balanced on a knife-edge; it is solely within Government’s gift to pull this back from the brink.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.