Time to get real over the NHS crisis

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For the sake of every single one of our patients across Sheffield and the rest of the UK, it’s time for the Government to get real over the crisis facing the NHS.

At our annual conference this week, doctors raised concerns that the unprecedented and increasing pressure on doctors, alongside the government’s focus on budget cuts, is affecting patient care, and having an impact on doctor’s wellbeing.

A recent BMA survey showed that nine out of 10 GPs feel their heavy workload has negatively impacted on the quality of patient services, and a third of doctors consider themselves to be suffering from, or have suffered from, burnout.

Politicians continue to tell us how much they treasure the NHS, yet they keep making unachievable promises to win favour and headlines.

The government had promised 5000 additional GPs by 2020. We challenged this unrealistic figure on the basis that general practice is already in a recruitment and retention crisis. The government has now climbed down and admitted this is a maximum it might achieve.

It has pledged to expand services, though without any convincing detail or costing, and its pledge to fund increased demand in the NHS properly turns out to be £8bn a year by 2020 when all agree the deficit is £30bn.

The crisis facing the NHS is real but the government’s solutions show little grasp of reality. Patients and NHS staff don’t need unrealistic promises; we need clear plans, with clear funding for matching demand and delivering improvements.

Mark Porter

Chair of council, British Medical Association