The chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs has said that the UK does not “spend enough” on the NHS, after a survey revealed that public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen to the lowest level in more than a decade.
Just over half of people (53%) in 2018 said they were very or quite satisfied with the way the health service is run, the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey found.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “We don’t spend enough. The country needs a difficult conversation with itself about what percentage of our resources should we spend on healthcare.
“If we invest a bit more, we will get a lot more out. In England, £20.5bn extra will be going in building up over the next five years.
“That is a substantial increase, which is great but it does take time. We have far too few GPs, too few nurses and across the system we need more healthcare professionals.”
Professor Stokes-Lampard argued that in the short term more should be done to looking after the staff the NHS has.
She warned that GPs in the UK were “burning out” during their careers and it was “putting off people from starting a career” in the NHS.
'A waste for everybody'
More people are training to be a GP, Professor Stokes-Lampard said, but many were choosing to move abroad when they qualify.
She said: “We have now got more people training to be a GP than ever before but what we don’t want them to do is come out at the end of training and decide to not work in the UK and choose to work abroad because it is more attractive. That is a waste for everybody and so sad.”
She said that the NHS was continuing to struggle after a “decade of austerity”.
“Despite all the challenges over a million people will be seen today in GP surgeries up and down the country,” she said.
“Tens of thousands will be treated very well in hospital. We need to be realistic.
“It is free at the point of need and it is there for everyone who needs it. That is why we love it because it is very precious.
“But, we all know that it can be better or want it to be better, especially those who are working in it.”