Plan for Growth Without Plan for Health Investment ‘Not Worth the Paper it’s Written on’, says BMA

Responding to the Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s speech on the Government’s plan for growth, Professor Philip Banfield, chair of council at the BMA, said:

“It’s clear from the Chancellor’s speech that the NHS has no place in the Government’s plan to turn a ‘vicious cycle of stagnation into a virtuous cycle of growth’.

“The Government has offered precisely nothing to doctors leaving due to pay erosion and nothing further to yesterday’s sticking plasters to address the broken pension tax rules that are forcing doctors into early retirement. It is the Government’s continual failure to address both issues adequately which is driving the workforce emergency in the NHS.

“The Chancellor was scathing in his criticism that ‘militant trade unions’ should be prevented from ‘disrupting lives’.

It’s beyond disappointing that he cannot see that years of real-term pay cuts have led public sector workers across the country to take steps towards industrial action. While we await more detail on the Government’s proposed changes to trade union legislation, anything that prevents unions from acting in the interests of members will be strongly resisted.

“While it’s good that the NHS and social care services did not feature among the Government’s barrage of tax cuts, maintaining funding at existing levels is little consolation to patients on mammoth waiting lists, or the staff providing their care. With sky-high inflation and the soaring cost of living eroding the NHS’s budget, more funding is desperately needed to fill the gaping black hole in NHS finances.

“A healthy population with timely access to essential healthcare services is critical for economic recovery. Investment in health is an investment in economic growth. Investment in our expert workforce is an investment in the future of our NHS. A plan for growth without a plan for health investment is not worth the paper it is written on.”

 

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