Budget must deliver funding for 10,000 more GPs, says BMA

BMA leaders have urged chancellor Philip Hammond to use this week's budget announcement to raise NHS funding to match average investment in the EU's 10 leading economies.

Raising NHS funding to 10.4% of GDP - in line with average spending in Europe's 10 leading economies - would deliver an extra £10.3bn a year to the health service based on 2015 figures, according to the BMA. The UK currently spends around 9.8% of GDP on the health service, the BMA says.

A £3bn share of this extra money could pay for 10,000 more GPs and other primary care professionals, along with improved premises, the BMA has told the chancellor.

The rest of the funding could increase hospital capacity by 35,000 beds per day and reverse cuts to public health funding, the union says.

NHS funding

'Conscious underinvestment' in the health service - not mismanagement by front-line clinicians or managers - is responsible for the extreme pressures facing the health service, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter wrote in a letter to the chancellor on Monday.

After a weekend that saw GPs join thousands of people join the NHS March in London to defend the health service, Dr Porter warned: 'The crisis currently facing the NHS and social care is well known and becoming increasingly severe – the government cannot remain a bystander any longer.

'An entire system under such strain is not due to front-line financial mismanagement, or individual chief executives’ poor decision making, it is due to the conscious underinvestment in our health service.

'Our members report that services are truly at breaking point, with unprecedented rising patient demand met only with financial restraint and directives for the NHS and social care to make huge, unachievable savings through sustainability and transformation plans across England.

NHS crisis

'We are not calling for more than other comparable nations, we are simply calling for you to match the average spending of other leading European economies.'

Deputy BMA chair Dr David Wrigley tweeted during Saturday's NHS March a challenge to prime minister Theresa May to deliver better NHS funding.

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