Responding to comments made by Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Richard Hughes highlighting how pandemic funding for the health service is set to be reduced1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “It is scandalous that the Government is actually cutting pandemic funding for the health service at a time when we desperately need significant investment to deal with the lasting impact of Covid-19.
“The damaging effects of this virus are not just limited to Covid cases but extend to the 4.5 million people now waiting for non-Covid operations, with 224,000 of these patients waiting more than a year.
“What’s more, this virus will not just disappear in the summer. It will need continued focus and funding to deal with the threat of new variants and to make sure the public remain protected.
“We know that the health service was severely underfunded and massively under-resourced going into this pandemic and it now faces a greater challenge of unprecedented proportions.
“The Government must act now and set out a clear plan for additional investment - the BMA has estimated that it will require as much as an additional £5.4bn to address the backlog of patients alone - to properly deal with the ongoing impact of this virus so that the health of the nation does not suffer further.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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.
1. For more details see interview with OBR chairman Richard Hughes.