Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

The NHS is 'at breaking point' warns doctors' association

The BMA warned the health service was stretched to breaking point. Credit: PA

Patients are suffering as the NHS reaches "breaking point" as a result of years of under-funding, leading doctors have warned.

The Government was accused of wanting a "world-class" health service while putting in only a "third class" financial settlement, said the British Medical Association.

As a result it is "failing too many people" and leaving patients "belittled and bewildered" as medical staff try to deal with overstretched systems, the union's chairman will say.

He is set to say ministers are content to "willfully ignore" the problem as he calls for millions more to be poured into the system.

A new survey carried out by the BMA found that 43% were dissatisfied with NHS services - a larger share than the third who said they were satisfied.

82%
People worried about the future of the NHS in a BMA poll.

Three quarters thought the number of services offered would decrease while 83% thought waiting times would get longer in the poll of more than 1,000 English adults.

The concerns were echoed in a poll of 422 doctors, where 71% said it has become more difficult for patients trying to access NHS care over the past 12 months.

71%
Doctors who say it has got harder for patients to access the NHS in a poll.
Patients are finding it harder to get medical care due to cuts, the union will warn. Credit: PA

Dr Mark Porter, the BMA chairman, will praise the "extraordinary dedication" of NHS staff in a speech today but say they need more resources to create the service that patients "need and deserve".

We have a Government trying to keep the health service running on nothing but fumes. A health service at breaking point. Run by ministers who wilfully ignore the pleas of the profession and the impact on patients.

After years of underinvestment, with a growing, ageing population, and despite the extraordinary dedication of its staff, it is failing too many people, too often.

It doesn't have to be this way. It is the result of an explicit political choice.We don't have to spend less of our GDP than the other leading European economies on health.

– Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA

Mr Porter will say that if the government spent the average percentage of GDP on health as other European countries, it would give and extra £15 billion in investment within five years.

"We're not asking for the world," he will add.

"We're asking for the average. For a fair chance to create the health service our patients need and deserve."

The vast majority of Britons said they were worried about the NHS in a BMA poll. Credit: PA

Mr Porter will point to a four-fold increase in the number of patients waiting for more than four hour to get an inpatient bed to a total of 129,000 people last year.

He will also warn that politicians can no longer attempt to "pass the buck" by attempting to blame staff and attempting to set GPs and hospitals against each other.

"The Prime Minister blames doctors, when her own government is so conspicuously failing to keep its side of the bargain and recruit the much-trumpeted 5,000 new GPs by 2020," he will say.

"Three years ago, it was a pledge. Then it became an ambition. Now its eems more like a mirage. And a language of evasion and failure."

The Government said the BMA 'does a disservice to the NHS'. Credit: PA

Mr Poter will make his comments at the opening of the union's annual representative meeting in Bournemouth, where leading medics will debate many issues facing the workforce and the NHS as a whole.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour's shadow health secretary, said: "The vast majority of the public are deeply concerned and yet Theresa May remains in utter denial of her government's flagrant disregard for our health service.

"Enough is enough. Only Labour can be trusted to deliver a world class health service, properly funded and free at the point of use for all."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the picture painted by the BMA "does a disservice to the achievements of NHS staff".

"Genuinely independent research shows public satisfaction is now the highest for all but three of the last 20 years," they added.