Responding to the publication of the British Social Attitudes Survey 1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said:
“It is unsurprising that more people are now dissatisfied with the NHS than are satisfied. This is a direct consequence of a service which has been pushed to the edge of collapse with severe deficits – in staffing, in beds, in community services, in facilities and in equipment. These findings should be a wake-up call for a Government that has been woefully inadequate in its response to the crisis unfolding before them, despite being advised by the British Medical Association, doctors and other healthcare professionals that this would be the consequence of their lack of attention.
“The truth is that the NHS in England has been underfunded for so long and we went into the pandemic frighteningly ill-prepared for what was to come. Now staff morale is at an all-time low with doctors leaving the NHS every day. Commitments made by the UK Government, like the recruitment of more GPs, are routinely missed, while at the same time rejecting demands from the House of Lords and over 100 medical organisations for transparent workforce planning.
“Now is the time to change course and invest in the workforce, to stem the exodus of highly-skilled and experienced NHS professionals, otherwise it will be too late for the NHS and too late for patients. We don’t have enough doctors, we have six million people on a waiting list in England, and we have no guarantees that any of this will change drastically in the coming months and years. Only last week we laid out simply what was needed to start tackling this underinvestment, but we were bitterly disappointed that the UK Government’s Spring Statement doesn’t begin to make any in-roads into tackling the increased demand and pressure that the NHS is now facing.
“The starting point must be to openly acknowledge and tackle the infrastructure deficit in the NHS, beginning with long-term and transparent workforce planning that addresses the shortages and retains our highly skilled workforce through better remuneration, tailored wellbeing support and a change to the punitive pensions taxation rules with immediate effect.”
Notes to editors
1. For a copy of the British Social Attitudes Survey please visit NatCen Social Research.
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