New government must deliver long-term plan to save NHS, warns BMA

The administration being formed by prime minister Theresa May must find the courage and political will to deliver the funding and staffing the NHS needs to survive, the BMA has warned.

The day after a tumultuous general election result that saw the Conservatives stripped of their overall parliamentary majority and a near 10% increase in Labour's vote share, the BMA has urged the government to make the health service a priority.

BMA warnings over NHS funding and staff were echoed by the Patients Association, which urged the government that without increased investment an NHS crisis was inevitable.

BMA chair Dr Mark Porter repeated the union's call for the government to end uncertainty for NHS staff from EU countries with a guarantee that they will be allowed to remain in the UK post-Brexit.

NHS funding

He urged the new government to raise NHS funding in line with spending in other European countries and to end short-term thinking around health service planning.

Dr Porter said: 'On a day where figures show that more patients are waiting longer for treatment, it is clear that the next government must make the NHS a priority and that politicians of all parties will have to work together to achieve this. While the NHS remains one of the best healthcare systems in the world, years of underinvestment in the face of rising patient demand and need has left it at breaking point.

'With Brexit negotiations starting in a matter of days, securing the future of EU workers in the NHS is vitally important to protect NHS services and end uncertainty for thousands of NHS staff. So too is protecting the future of patient care in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following Brexit, by ensuring that a "soft" border is maintained.

Sustainable NHS

'People care deeply about the future of health and social care in this country. Yet Conservative funding plans for the NHS fall far short of what is needed. The question for this government is whether it will preside over a further decline in the NHS, or if it has the courage and the political will to provide the funding and staffing needed to ensure its survival.'

A statement from the Patients Association says: 'Without a change in direction by the Government, there is now no prospect of us avoiding a major crisis in the NHS, on top of the existing one in social care. This crisis will not hold off while Westminster politics sorts itself out into a more workable shape or adapts to the new political landscape – it will come whether our politicians are ready for it or not.

'We strongly advise the government to show leadership on funding, by committing to increase the share of GDP spent on health and social care to the levels recommended by the Barker Commission and the Office for Budgetary Responsibility.'

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