If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
Firstly, may I wish you a Happy New Year, and I hope you managed to get some rest over the festive period. The NHS of course did not stop caring for patients during this time, and I would like to thank all doctors and our colleagues who throughout the seasonal break provided vital frontline services round the clock both in hospitals and in general practice.
As we leave 2017, the NHS remains in a perilous state. The BMA has consistently highlighted the serious impact of the woeful underfunding of the NHS, with rapidly growing demand wholly outstripping capacity – a fact that is echoed by almost all authoritative opinion, including parliamentary committees, major think tanks such as the Health Foundation, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, and from professional bodies across health and social care.
This lack of resources is taking its toll on patient services and workload pressures, with targets set by government itself now routinely being breached. Significantly, in November, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens candidly pronounced that present funding “is well short of what is needed to look after our patients and their families at their time of greatest need”, and warned this would undermine care in areas such as mental health and cancer outcomes.
The facts speak for themselves. 2.3 million patients waited over four hours to be seen in A&E in England last year. Once seen, nearly half a million people had to wait over four hours on trolleys to be admitted for treatment and a shocking 2,300 waited more than twelve hours in this state. We’ve entered a very difficult winter with the lowest number of beds on record and it’s therefore no surprise that, in the first half of December, an average of 57% of trusts were operating at 95% bed occupancy or above; levels clearly above the recommended safety limit of 85%.
In general practice 20% of patients are waiting more than a week for an appointment, up from 12% five years ago, and nearly nine in ten GPs say that excessive workload is preventing them from providing safe, quality care. These figures are for England but similar pressures are affecting services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We’re now used to hearing such statistics in the media. But behind the facts and figures are real people left suffering, waiting in pain or with untreated symptoms, as well as overworked doctors feeling demoralised because they can’t provide the care that patients need.
In its Autumn Budget the government pledged an additional £1.6bn for the NHS in England for the coming year, but this falls far short of the immediate £4 billion the NHS’s own leaders say is required. In July the BMA calculated that in order to match the average spend on health across other major EU countries, the UK would need to increase total health spending by over £10 billion, rising to more than £20 billion in five years’ time.
These funding pressures are matched by a workforce crisis with 75% of hospital specialties last year reporting vacancies and one in three GP practices with long-term unfilled posts. Even the GMC only last month warned that chronic shortages of doctors have resulted in a “crunch point” for the NHS.
The past year has also brought home the serious implications of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, with four in 10 doctors from the EU working in the NHS stating in a BMA survey their intention to leave, which will compound workforce shortages. The promise of £350m extra funding per week for the NHS, as a result of Brexit, instead looks likely to turn into the scandal of a further severe financial drain on an already overstretched NHS budget.
The BMA has publicised the implications of leaving the European Union, for example, on immigration policy and the NHS workforce; on research and medical procurement and on the consequences for patients. Importantly, we have lobbied to ensure that doctors from outside the UK feel supported and can continue to work in the NHS despite the referendum vote. We also continue to give our strong support to our colleagues in Northern Ireland. The current cross-border healthcare arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic must not be compromised as a result of Brexit.
The BMA has also in the past year worked on wider health policy including a call to address the inadequacy of mental health provision, made the case for investment in public health, produced policy to support those held in immigration detention centres in the UK and also for children and young people in solitary confinement in the youth justice system. We have also celebrated major policy successes. After 15 years of BMA campaigning, in September the prime minister announced her intention to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation in England, which is currently out for consultation. This could save hundreds of lives each year at a time when around three people die each day in England waiting for a donor organ. If enacted it will follow the example on organ donation set by Wales, where an opt out system has operated since 2015, and Scotland where ministers are close to introducing a similar system.
2018 can and must be a turning point for the NHS. We know that the public care deeply about the NHS and our patients really value the work we do – in a recent survey four out of five people (77 per cent) said they believe that ‘the NHS is crucial to British society and we must do everything we can to maintain it’. The BMA will therefore robustly continue to demand proper funding of the NHS and highlight to the public that lack of resources is compromising doctors’ ability to provide patients with the care that they need. We will make it patently clear that it is the responsibility of government alone to address this and that plugging the current £10 billion funding gap in the NHS compared to European averages is ultimately a political choice. £10 billion which could make a huge difference to patient care for instance by increasing the number of hospital beds by 35,000 or employing an extra 10,000 GPs along with additional staff and facilities. In England we will continue to oppose and call for an end to competition and procurement legislation, which further risks entire localities being run by commercial organisations via the proposed accountable care organisations.
The BMA will also in 2018 begin an honest conversation on what sort of NHS doctors want to work in – and which will be crucial in addressing recruitment, retention and morale. An NHS based on working collaboratively across the interface between primary and secondary care as one profession. An NHS that is free from market forces so that taxpayers’ money is spent on delivering patient care, not squandered on transaction costs, fragmentation and bureaucracy. An NHS which values its workforce and supports doctors to be able to work safely at the top of their licence. And an NHS that has a culture that supports and encourages learning and improvement – not one which is rooted in blame. I look forward to inviting you to help shape that vision in the coming year.
With all good wishes
Dr Chaand Nagpaul
BMA council chair
All these good wishes are reciprocated, with very many thanks for all the hard work done by our Chairman, other representatives, and Association staff.
Hey online game addictive i have an one of the best online video game that's you loves to play online on your pc so just visit our homepage mahjongfreegames.online/titans and play the mahjong titan game free of charge.
I think that this year will be powered by writingjackpot.com/.../. Cause only there we can easily find the best solutions for many students to know more about modern study programmes, schoolarships and srtvices that could easily find some more tasks for students.
He is a doctor and is respected by many people. I really admire