The Royal College of Physicians is calling for the government to increase NHS funding substantially this year, as well as improve spending on social care and public health, otherwise “patient care will continue to deteriorate” as the current shortfalls are “now having a significant impact on the ability … to deliver safe and effective patient care”.
The RCP’s submission to the Spring Budget 2017 describes in detail the current and chronic shortfalls in NHS budget and the parlous state this has left services in. It then concludes that:
“It is therefore vital that action is taken to ensure that the NHS has the funding it needs to meet increasing demands on services. Furthermore, we urge that realistic targets be set for making efficiency savings, which will not result in services being cut or rationed.”
The report goes on to sound the alarm over a growing trend to use transformation funds, supposedly part of the STP framework, to plug short-term gaps in funding, leaving no margin for future transformation funding. The dangerous levels of under-staffing and lack of training are spelt out. And the appealing neglect of public health and social care funding are well described.
When such an august body as the RCP draws such damning conclusions, surely any responsible government must heed the warning? Even this one, despite Prime Minister May’s dogged determination to continue denying what the growing chorus of alarm is shouting? Time will tell. But it is fast running out – that much is all too plain.