THE DOCTORS’ ASSOCIATION UK CALLS ON POLITICAL LEADERS TO STOP PLAYING PARTY POLITICS WITH THE NHS
The NHS is in a state of crisis. Whilst much attention has been focussed on Brexit, doctors have watched on with increasing concern as the NHS, Britain’s greatest treasure, has been sidelined.
On this government’s watch we have seen an exodus of NHS staff and our patients have had to endure spiralling wait times; for a GP appointment, for elective surgery which has seen record cancellations, for emergency care, even for a life saving ambulance.
Only this week has emergency action been taken by this government for an impending winter crisis which, given the gross under-staffing and under-resourcing of our NHS, should have been utterly predictable.
The NHS must never be an after-thought. It should not have taken the spectre of a general election for our government to address the issues putting the NHS under enormous pressure which have been sorely neglected. So, at a time when we are 11,000 doctors short, and we have 100,000 vacancies across the frontline, we are asking all political leaders to start putting the NHS above party politics, and make the health service a key priority in the general election.
In the attached manifesto we have outlined the most pressing matters affecting the NHS and its staff, which must be addressed before it is to late. We have written to the leaders of the political parties taking part in the upcoming general election to commit to adopting this principles, and putting the NHS at the forefront of their campaigns. These include:
· Restoring the NHS budget to 7.6% GDP by increasing funding by >£15 billion over the next 3 years.
· Committing to a series of above inflation pay rises for NHS doctors to improve retention, after years and years of a pay freeze
· Abolishing the punitive pensions tax which is seeing our most senior clinicians forced to drop their hours and their overtime for the NHS, leading to increased waiting times.
· Supporting the national monitoring of physician suicides, this cannot be ignored any longer
· Committing “Learn Not Blame”, a just culture to help reverse a worrying trend in the NHS where clinicians are scapegoated and sent to prison if they make an honest mistake whilst working in short-staffed and unsafe environments.
· Rule out a no-deal Brexit and commit holding a second referendum on Brexit should any proposed deal negatively impact healthcare. Commit to taking the NHS off the table in any trade deal.
The Doctor’s Association UK strongly believes that we are heading into our worst winter crisis yet, one that without urgent action will become an all-year-round crisis, from which the NHS may not recover.