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Government in denial about the NHS funding crisis, says BMA leader

21 June 2016

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The British Medical Association (BMA) has said that the government is in denial about the state of the funding crisis facing the NHS.

Addressing the BMA’s annual representative meeting (ARM) in Belfast, Dr Mark Porter, the council chair, highlighted the fact the UK spends less of a share of its wealth on healthcare than the EU average.

Porter said: “The government is in denial. The chancellor says he has a fully funded plan for the NHS. But while he announced £10bn of new money in November, our funding report showed the real increase in health spending is less than half that.”

Furthermore, cuts of £200m to public health have affected many services locally, including sexual health services and smoking cessation services.

Porter added: “We’ve looked into what that budget actually pays for. A successful smoking cessation service in the north-east is now under threat.

“In Brighton, the council says cuts to sexual health may lead to increased HIV prevalence.

“In Leicestershire, in Somerset, in east London, in Surrey and in Darlington, we have found similar stories.

“You can’t trade a public health policy for an e-cigarette and crossed fingers.”

Porter’s comments follow a public BMA survey, which found that only 13% believe the Government is giving the NHS the money it needs.

Meanwhile, 75% of people were worried about public health funding.

In his speech, Porter pointed out that there are more health ministers in England than there are major emergency departments that recently met the government’s four-hour waiting time target.

He said: “Year-on-year cuts to funding that have driven almost every acute trust in England into deficit. In total, more than £2bn in deficit, a 20-fold increase in two years.

“And this pernicious effect permeates every part of the United Kingdom.

“This, from a government which promised to ‘cut the deficit, not the NHS’, from a prime minister who assured us that the NHS was safe in his hands.”