Group of Rugby healthcare professionals: NHS needs long-term fund boost

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We are a group of mostly retired NHS professionals from a wide background – a former consultant clinician, GPs, a dentist, a pharmacist, NHS management and path lab technician – who are lobbying for improvements in health and social care.

We have previously written articles in the Advertiser and letters to the Advertiser, our local MP, ministers and others with influence such as the chair of the House of Commons select committee for health, Dr Sarah Wollaston.

Our aim is to reflect the impact on the NHS of lack of resources and we are entirely supportive of our local services.

With that in mind we do engage with the local providers of our services. We are apolitical and are happy to co-operate with all who are working to improve the NHS and social care.

This issue needs cross- party support and despite the Prime Minister’s recent pledge to 10-year funding there needs to be a firm commitment to an annual increase in funding that restores the NHS to the correct level considering the demographic changes that have occurred.

The overall increase in population, the fact that we are living longer and advances in new treatments that we would all wish for our country in the 21st century mean we need more resources in the NHS and social care.

Resources include: staff training and recruitment, equipment and buildings which all require more money in the system.

The last 10 years of austerity have seen the lowest annual increase in funding in the NHS’s 70-year history. This has resulted in waiting times for outpatient appointments, A&E attendance and operations all increasing dramatically, with 12-hour waits on trolleys for some patients almost the norm.

Over the same period there has been a reduction in resources for mental health and social care – the latter due to continuing cuts in central funding going to local authorities as part of the austerity package.

To compensate for the inadequate NHS funding and bring it back to the required level an increase of at least five per cent this year is needed, then an annual increase allowing for inflation of at least 3.3 per cent each year over the 10 years to maintain only our current level of services.

There will also need to be an increase in funding for local authorities for social care.

The way that the funding is raised is another important issue.

Should it be through an increase in general taxation? But that means the extra money is not ring-fenced for the NHS and social care.

Or should we have a hypothecated tax like in Germany which can only be used for the NHS? Some have suggested an increase in National Insurance

Contributions, including those working after state pension age.

Public surveys have always shown widespread support for increased funding of our NHS and social care as long as that funding cannot be moved to another place on a political whim.

The Government has said it will announce its new funding policy for the NHS and social care this July so there is only a short period of time for this to be discussed.

Number 10 has already talked about a three per cent rise, but as Dr Sarah Wollaston MP – chair of the House of Commons health committee – has said this too little to restore the NHS’s finances.

Politicians need to have an open and honest discussion with us. We also need to accept the fact that you cannot have more resources without paying more for them.

We all need to lobby our MPs and other politicians to have this public debate and to try to build a cross-party consensus to ensure that this policy lasts at least 10 years.

We urge our fellow residents of the Rugby area to contact your MP and tell them of your views.