Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, has responded to the general election result:

“The last few days of the election campaign made the extent of the crisis in the NHS plain to see, with reports of patients waiting on trolleys, chairs and floors in hospital corridors, even relatively early in the winter. Mr Johnson’s Government has been returned on a platform that raises many concerns for patients, and presents little reassurance. The Conservative Party’s manifesto betrayed his promise to produce a solution to the social care crisis, and contained little, if anything, to help the NHS face what could be its worst winter of modern times.”

John Kell, Head of Policy at the Patients Association, provided the following analysis.

“The NHS is in the midst of a major crisis of funding and workforce shortages. The Government’s proposal to enshrine in law a short measure of new funding will not help it. What it needs is a full funding package to cover the parts of its work not included in the investment announced up to now, plus full funding for social care and all the other public services that are crucial to people’s health and wellbeing.

“Instead, bar the modest spending increases at the last Budget, the spending cuts of this decade’s ‘austerity’ are now locked in and will apparently not be reversed. The Government has not been re-elected on a platform that was honest with the electorate that high quality public services require adequate funding, overwhelmingly from taxation. The prospect of a ‘tax-cutting’ Budget in February is deeply concerning.

 “The net result is likely to be that patients will continue to experience lengthening waits for appointments and treatments, with all the added pain, discomfort, worry and risk of ultimately worse outcomes that will come with that. More broadly, the health and wellbeing of our population will continue to deteriorate as housing, welfare benefits and other vital policy areas struggle with inadequate investment.

 “Our direction in respect of Brexit is now very clear, but Mr Johnson’s deal represents a very ‘hard’ Brexit that is likely to drive up costs for the NHS across many supply chains, for which it has not so far been granted any additional funding. The onus is now on Mr Johnson to show how Brexit will deliver the many benefits that he promised the British people it would bring, including how it will enable us to improve the nation’s health, care and wellbeing.

 “On the plus side, the result at least paves the way for implementation of the NHS’s Long Term Plan, albeit without enough money or professionals for patients to get the full benefit from it.”

Rachel Power concluded:

“I am today writing to the Prime Minister to congratulate him on his victory, and ask him to set out urgently a coherent vision for health, care and wellbeing, a firm plan on social care, a full funding package for all relevant public services, and details of how Brexit will deliver the benefits that the British people have been promised.”

Ends

Letter from Rachel Power to the Prime Minister