Responding to a report on winter pressures released today (Thursday) by the Health Select Committee which says that the underfunding of adult social care and cuts to capital budgets are increasing the strain on accident and emergency departments, Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, said:
“There is an ever increasing demand for health services across the NHS which is exacerbated during the winter months. This demand is now so great that hospitals, which have seen bed numbers fall time and again, are full all year round. This prevents the system from coping with a seasonal spike in demand.
“It is vital that there is sufficient capacity across the entire health and social care system, including in accident and emergency departments, general practice and social care provision. Doctors are particularly concerned that a lack of investment and resource in social care is increasingly impacting on the provision of healthcare, especially in winter.
“Short-term fixes, however well meaning, will only get us so far. We have to look at the long-term funding and recruitment issues facing the NHS as a whole if we are to get to grips with the pressures hospitals face year in, year out, but which are compounded during the winter months.
“The NHS urgently needs a long term financial solution to help keep up with demand in every part of the system. Instead of focussing on presenting misleading figures to patients and the public over NHS funding, the government should be working on a long-term, meaningful solution to the £30bn black hole in NHS finances.”
Notes to editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.
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- The BMA submitted written evidence to this HSC inquiry.