This is a national emergency
Our NHS is facing its worst ever crisis, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s why we’re making these demands of the Government now.
This is a national emergency. The NHS staff shortage is now at 132,000 vacancies, waiting lists and ambulance wait times have never been higher. Government could invest properly in health but over the last decade and more, we’ve seen it doesn’t have the political will to do so. Instead it turns to private sector providers who have failed the NHS time and again, wasting tens of billions during the pandemic. We need change now.
This will be the hardest winter ever in health and social care for a generation. We must act now to save staff morale, avoid a mental health crisis among health and care staff and safeguard services for patients and service users.
There has also been a total failure of government during the pandemic. Public health measures have been undermined and far too many have been allowed to die, especially among vulnerable groups. 47,000 residents in care homes died during the pandemic, and six out of ten deaths overall have been disabled people.
Government policies have led to growing levels of inequality which have exacerbated the crisis. 30% of those admitted to ITU with Covid-19 were of ‘non-white ethnicity’ despite making up only 14% of the population.
We also recognise that essential steps to keep NHS workers safe are still not properly in place, with PPE provision still well below what’s required and that immediate steps must be taken to improve ventilation in clinical areas.
The Health and Care Act addresses none of these problems. It will not put an end to contracts going to the private sector, draining resources from the NHS. Nor will pie-in-the-sky ideas like so-called ‘virtual wards’. The truth is this Government wants the NHS to fail.
To save lives, we need emergency funds now to make up for an annual deficit of around £35bn. We must recruit and retain more frontline staff and pay them properly. In future we need a return to a fully publicly funded and provided national health service, protected from private companies who put profit before patients.
OUR THREE DEMANDS:
- Emergency funding to save a struggling NHS
- Invest in a fully publicly owned NHS & guarantee free healthcare for future generations
- Pay staff properly: without fair pay, staffing shortages will cost lives