Eight out of 10 doctors say NHS under-funding affects safety, British Medical Association finds

NHS 'run ragged' despite promised extra funding, says British Medical Association chief

Doctors demonstrate in London over under-funding. Image: Getty

Monday, June 25, 2018

Some eight out of 10 medical professionals believe NHS under-funding is affecting quality and safety, a survey has found.

Almost 8,000 doctors were polled by the British Medical Association (BMA) found 74% think financial targets override patient care, 76% say waiting times for patients have worsened in the last 12 months, and just 5% agree staffing levels are adequate to support quality patient care.

Some 95% of doctors admit they are fearful of making a medical error, with 55% concerned they will be blamed for errors due to pressures or system failings in their workplace.

Read more: GPs leave the job because satisfaction has gone, says former doctor

'Starved of resources'

The BMA’s annual representative meeting with take place in Brighton today and Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the council of the BMA, will say “the NHS has been systematically and scandalously starved of resources”.

Despite the recent Government pledge of more cash, he is expected to say that the extra funding - while welcome - falls short of what’s needed.

"It's not just the channel that separates us from our European neighbours, but a vast funding gap equating to 35,000 hospital beds or 10,000 doctors. We're being run ragged,” he will say.

Read more: Doctors should not fear 'honest mistakes', says Jeremy Hunt

'Tens of thousands of operations cancelled'

"A health service of gaps and stopgaps where two out of three juniors report holes in their rota and one third of GP practices have long-term vacancies. It's the new norm. It's a new low.

"Does being prepared mean resorting to precipitously cancelling tens of thousands of operations before Christmas due to lack of capacity, adding further delay, anxiety and suffering to patients who've already waited months for an operation?

"Is being prepared having 17,000 acutely sick patients queuing in ambulances outside emergency departments in the first week of January since there was not the space to admit them.

"Do you remember when winter pressures only happened in the winter? We now have an all-year crisis.

"Today in Brighton we may be in the midst of summer, but in the NHS it's still winter."

Theresa May announced last week that a ‘Brexit dividend’ - money saved from leaving the EU - will be used for more funding for the NHS, as well as tax raises.

The BMA meeting today will also see the possibility of introducing a £25 charge to see a GP being discussed.