Today’s columnist, Patrick Meleady: So much for Tory promises

Junior doctors at Weston Park, outside Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield, on a 24 hour strike today January 12 2016.
Junior doctors at Weston Park, outside Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield, on a 24 hour strike today January 12 2016.
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The Conservatives in their last Manifesto pledged that they would increase funding to the NHS and deliver a seven-day NHS too.

The manifesto at the time, gave no clue as to how the worsening problems in the NHS might be overcome.

Today we still have NHS-wide staffing problems due to a very real shortages of GPs, nurses, radiologists, A&E doctors and many other types of health professionals, making this pledge almost impossible to deliver.

On top of this, the Government are insisting on offsetting a pay increase for junior doctors by curbing other elements of their pay package.

These include unsociable hours payments, which will have a dire impact upon not only the doctors concerned but upon patients and the NHS, as the Government risks pushing these trained and qualified staff out of the NHS and into private medicine or abroad.

In November 2014 the Government also announced its intention to stop public funding for students of nursing and midwifery, saying it would save the Government £800 million a year despite the Government being told by the Royal College of Nursing that this action will worsen NHS recruitment problems.

Student nurses, midwives and other professionals in the NHS have taken to the streets to protest against these proposed cuts and to draw attention to the detriments that will ensue if these cuts go ahead.

They point out also that despite government pledges, public health has already suffered a £200m cut in funding.

Part of these savings were forced upon the Care Quality Commission, which is the NHS care watchdog there are likely to be fewer or less robust inspections of hospitals and GP surgeries.

It is not only the health professions who are suffering under the continuing draconian, so-called ‘austerity cuts’ but others too, including the Government putting a block upon teachers’ pay and imposing ‘real terms cuts’ to school budgets.

Teachers’ pay increases have been limited to 1 per cent or less for the past five years, and the Government is telling them that this imposition will not change for the next four years, despite there being a teaching recruitment crisis also in the UK.

Town Hall Budgets too continue to be slashed and the police are taking a £41 million cut as well.

So much for Government promises.