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Diabetes UK boss responds to NHS funding crisis

By Editor
9th November 2017

If the NHS does not receive the funding it needs the “decline of quality” will damage people’s lives, a major diabetes charity boss has warned.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, issued the statement in response to NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens publicly declaring the health service could hugely decline if more funding was not set aside for it.

Speaking at the NHS Providers’ annual conference of health managers, just two weeks before the Budget is to be announced, Mr Stevens said if the ailing health service did not receive the cash boost it was promised then hospital waiting lists are likely to hit five million by 2021.

He told delegates that the NHS has a “funding problem” and that spending on the health service is expected to “nosedive” over the next two years.

Mr Stevens urged Prime Minister Theresa May to give the NHS in England at least £4bn more in 2018-19 – six times higher than currently envisaged – in the budget Philip Hammond will deliver on 22 November.

The Chancellor’s responsibility to the 15m people in England living with a long term health problem is clear; we urge him to take this responsibility seriously, and act

Under current government plans the NHS budget is due to go up from £123.7bn this year to £124.4bn in 2018-19 – a rise of just 0.58 per cent.

Mr Stevens reminded delegates that leave campaigners had promised the NHS £350m a week during  last year’s EU referendum campaign. If that happened that would mean the NHS received an extra £18.2bn a year.

Mr Askew, who also chairs The Richmond Group, a coalition of 14 of the leading health and social care organisations in the voluntary sector, said: “This new report from the undisputed experts provides further evidence that – without proper investment – the ability of our health service to meet the needs of the people in England will continue to deteriorate.

“For too long we’ve seen a lack of sufficient investment, and a piece meal approach to responding to increasing pressures, negatively impacting on the lives of the 1-in-4 of us in the UK living with a long term health condition. It’s time for the Chancellor to reverse this worrying, damaging trend.

“Through our work with people living with conditions such as cancer, dementia, depression or arthritis, we know that access to timely, high quality health and social care is on the decline: four million people are currently still waiting for planned operations; only a third of people asking for social care receive actual help with their personal care; and 80 per cent of NHS Trust bosses have said they fear they will be unable to provide the right level of care to the growing numbers of people seeking mental health support. The problems facing our health and social care services are now system wide, and demand decisive, wholesale action from the Chancellor. This begins with proper investment, both short term and long term.

“Fixing the issues facing our health and social care services will cost money, but allowing this decline of quality to continue will damage both the NHS and people’s lives. The Chancellor’s responsibility to the 15m people in England living with a long term health problem is clear; we urge him to take this responsibility seriously, and act.”

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