We need emergency investment in a publicly provided NHS

To stop the continued worsening of the crisis in the NHS we must force the Government to take immediate, concrete steps to relieve the crisis in hospitals, mental health, primary and community care and social care, and make a major U-turn, to review and revise the Spending Review. Repeating the mantra that the government has introduced the “health and care levy” – releasing a dribble of extra funding from April onwards – does nothing to restore morale or tackle current pressures and problems.

To ensure no more billions are wasted on private contracts, such as we saw during the pandemic, the government must also invest much more in our NHS – to restore and expand NHS capacity; repair or rebuild crumbing hospitals; and reopen the unused NHS beds.

It’s vital to increase investment invest in staff, with new targets for recruitment, training, and levels of pay that would prevent the service losing staff. We also need to build a properly resourced, publicly run national care and support service, and invest in public health and policies to tackle huge and growing inequalities in health. This Government has shown it won’t change course without pressure from below: but U-turns have occurred. It’s up to us to pile on that pressure. 

Rebuild public health
More investment is also urgently needed at local level to reverse recent years of cuts and rebuild public health services that have been foolishly cut back and are now straining to support the fight against Covid.

Fund a fair pay deal
NHS and care staff need pay justice that keeps pace with inflation, and restores lost wage value, not the insulting 3% pay offer. This is essential to help restore morale and livelihood. Rishi Sunak must be told to pay up to enable the NHS to grow the workforce to meet health needs.

What next?
We will need legislation and change at the top to re-establish a fully publicly funded and provided national health service, protected from private companies who put profit before patients. We need a national care service, and we need to make the NHS the default provider for health service provision. The NHS was once the best health care service in the world. It can be again.