October 6, 2016 by Protect Our NHS
Today we publish the open letter we have sent to all MPs in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Footprint area. NHS campaigners are welcome to use and adapt as necessary. We will reprint responses as they are received.
NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Bristol and the surrounding area
I am writing to you on behalf of Protect our NHS, a group which campaigns to preserve the National Health Service in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
As you know NHS England has instructed 44 ‘footprint’ areas in England to produces plans (Sustainability and Transformation Plans or STPs) with the aim of redesigning NHS services in a way which caps spending within a limit which is consistent with government spending plans.
There is a growing consensus amongst senior NHS staff and think tanks that NHS services and standards can only be maintained if the government substantially increases spending on the NHS. In his recent letter to Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, the Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, says,
‘But the trust leaders we represent are now clear that ……. it is no longer possible for their trusts to provide the right quality of service and meet the required performance targets on the funding available. They believe something now has to give. Either the service receives more funding than is currently planned or we need immediate choices, however undesirable they may be, on whether to reduce the priorities the NHS is trying to deliver, ration access to care, relax performance targets, close or reconfigure services, extend charges or co-payments, or reduce the size of the workforce.’
The full text of the letter can be found here:
In 2014/15 £135 billion was spent on the NHS. The government has committed £142 billion for the year 2020/21. There is a consensus amongst many commentators that £165 billion will be needed by 2020/21 to maintain the services provided by the NHS in recent years. This additional £23 billion would not return the health spend to the average of Western European countries as a proportion of GDP; for this to happen a budget of £185 billion would be needed. The recent report by the Nuffield Trust makes clear that a properly-funded NHS is affordable, and what the government has to do is return expenditure on the NHS to the levels of countries like France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.
The report is here:
If the government sticks to its current expenditure commitment, there will have to be substantial cuts in NHS services across the country, including hospital closures. The scale of the damage will become apparent as the 44 STPs are published in the coming months. In this situation those who have been waiting for an opportunity to further degrade the NHS will call for additional patient charges, and personally-funded health insurance plans for a range of treatments no longer provided by the NHS.
We urge you to add your voice to those calling on the government to increase spending on the NHS.
for Protect Our NHS