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£1.8 billion NHS funding boost ‘will only scratch the surface’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a £1.8 billion cash injection to ‘help improve patient care’.

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NHS Hospital Corridor
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The ‘new funding’ will allow a small number of NHS hospitals to complete ‘urgent upgrades’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed a £1.8 billion cash injection to ‘help improve patient care’.

The announcement came during a visit to one of the 20 English hospitals set to share £850 million in ‘new funding’ in order to complete ‘urgent upgrades’.  Earmarked to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment, many hospitals will use the cash to pay for much-needed repairs.

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Devolved administrations will receive around; £110 million for Wales, £180 million for Scotland and £60 million for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Johnson said: “With our doctors and nurses working tirelessly day in day out, this treasured institution truly showcases the very best of Britain. That’s why I made it my immediate task to make sure frontline services have the funding they need, to make a real difference to the lives of NHS staff, and above all, of patients.”

Only scratching the surface.

But experts are skeptical. Ben Gershlick, Senior Economist at the Health Foundation, has warned that while the vital funding is needed – it “will only scratch the surface”.

He said; “Given the scale of underinvestment in NHS buildings, equipment and technology in recent years, this level of funding will only scratch the surface and will not close the gap in health care capital spending between England and comparable countries.

“Even after this additional money, there remains a major risk to the quality of patient care posed by deteriorating facilities, out of date infrastructure and a shortage of equipment”

‘There is a £6bn maintenance backlog in trusts alone, of which over £3bn is ‘high or significant risk’, meaning that it is likely to be causing major disruption to services and impacting significantly on patient care quality and safety.

“Trusts have reported ward conditions so appalling that they impede patient recovery and the NHS has been unable to meet its 62-day target for cancer treatment for the past five years, partly due to a lack of diagnostic equipment and capacity.

One in nine nursing jobs are unfilled.

The Royal College of Nursing has also warned that while the investment is welcome, yet again the Government has failed to invest in staff.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Unlocking money to spend on new buildings and facilities is a positive step, and will be supported most by nurses who have to work in cramped and outdated conditions.”

“However, after this announcement, nursing staff will look to the Prime Minister with even greater expectation of addressing the workforce crisis. When one in nine nurse jobs in England is unfilled, we expect the Prime Minister to make investment in the supply of nurses a priority, including at least £1bn extra each year to attract a new generation of nurses into education, which will benefit the NHS, social care and public health too.

“The Government needs a detailed strategy for increasing workforce numbers, and an end to the lack of legal accountability that has allowed the current crisis to happen”.

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Health Politics

Yellowhammer ‘no-deal’ document predicts a shortage of medicines, staff and food

Health unions previously warned that a no-deal Brexit could h”catastrophic” consequences for patients. 

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Medicines on Pharmacy Shelf

Yellowhammer predicts a shortage of medicines, staff, and food alongside increased costs for health and social care providers.

Published today, the previously confidential and redacted Yellowhammer document outlines a series of “reasonable worst-case assumptions” on the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on the UK.

The document reveals that up to three-quarters of medicines and medical supplies, especially those with short shelf lives will become vulnerable to “severe extended delays”.

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The “already fragile” social care sector would face serious staffing shortages, increased operational costs and inflation could put the financial viability of care companies at risk.

British pensioners, workers, travels, and students in EU countries will be required to make additional arrangements to access healthcare – this could include demonstrating residency or joining health insurance and social security schemes. The document warns that “there is a risk of disruption for patients” and some may face “substantial costs”.

Finally, there is likely to be a shortage of fresh food due to limitations with supply chains alongside expected panic buying.

Earlier this month, health unions issued a joint statement calling for the Government to take a no-deal Brexit off the table, warning that crashing out without a deal could have “catastrophic” consequences for patients.

Devastating impact.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Council Chair for the British Medical Association (BMA), said: “This alarming document reinforces the BMA’s stark warnings about the devastating impact a ‘no deal’ Brexit could have, and vindicates those doctors who have had the courage to speak out on the risks that crashing out of the EU without a deal poses to the NHS, patients and the wider health of the UK.

“Here we see in black and white the Government warning of disruption to vital medicine supplies, a higher risk of disease outbreaks due to veterinary medicine supply issues, and UK pensioners in the EU being unable to access healthcare from 1 November if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“As we outlined just last week, the Government also recognises how the timing of our exit will be key – coinciding with the beginning of winter, when the NHS experiences its most difficult period, a ‘no deal’ risks pushing health services to the brink.

“The warnings around social care providers folding within months of Brexit day are particularly concerning, having a huge impact on our most vulnerable patients and the wider health service in the depths of winter.

“Given what’s at stake, this document underlines why the Government needs to entirely rule out ‘no deal’ and give the public a final say on Brexit.”

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A no-deal Brexit would ‘bring chaos to the NHS’, warns UNISON

The “uncertainty and chaos” caused by a no-deal Brexit would put patients and staff at risk.

Chloe Dawson

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No Deal Brexit UNISON

The “uncertainty and chaos” of a no-deal Brexit could push an already under pressure NHS over the edge.

Unison has warned that the “uncertainty and chaos” caused by a no-deal Brexit would put patients and staff at risk.

Following a joint statement from healthcare unions last week, the union echoed concerned about severe shortages of drugs and medical equipment as well as the possibility of cancelled operations and increased waiting times.

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Speaking ahead of the opening of the 151st Trades Union Congress in Brighton, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “No responsible politician working for the good of the country would allow the NHS to plunge into the no-deal abyss. The Prime Minister must ditch his do-or-die bluster, respect the law by asking the EU for an extension and then let the country decide its future in a general election.

“The chaos and uncertainty a no-deal Brexit would bring could push an already under-pressure NHS over the edge. And patients will be the biggest losers.”

Dave Prentis was speaking as UNISON staged a stunt with health workers on Brighton seafront to highlight the risks to the NHS of a no-deal Brexit.

“Although the bill to prevent no deal passed another hurdle in the Lords last week, we’re not out of the woods. The threat remains when we’re up against a Prime Minister eager to break every convention, rule and promise in the book.

“A no deal risks severe shortages of drugs and vital medical equipment, with the potential for cancelled operations and appointments. Increased waiting times will further stretch public confidence in the NHS.

“Brexit hasn’t just stopped potential EU recruits coming here to join the NHS, it’s also convinced those already working here that they’re better off elsewhere.

“No deal risks wrecking the fragile social care sector that’s reliant on EU nationals. If care collapses, A&E departments will be inundated and elderly patients won’t be able to leave hospital as they’ve nowhere to go.

“If freedom of movement ends, the staffing headache suffered by NHS trusts countrywide becomes a full-blown migraine attack. Many thousands of EU nationals have yet to apply for settled status and it’s anyone’s guess what that means for their jobs.

“The catalogue of logistical nightmares goes on. The NHS serves more than 140 million meals to patients every year, with much of the food imported from Europe.

“Possible fuel shortages could have a severe impact on 6,500 emergency ambulances and their crews operating countrywide, especially those in areas with lorries queuing out of the ports.

“But the real tragedy is that the millions spent on no-deal Brexit preparations could have been invested in rebuilding communities. Instead, real issues affecting people’s lives are being ignored – to the nation’s eternal shame.”

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