When is the British public – let alone the Government – going to wake up to the underfunding that is fuelling our national health and care crisis? We do not need the British Red Cross to pass judgement on the NHS; just walk into any A & E Department right now, and you will witness our cherished national institution creaking at the seams.
Government ministers may claim that billions of pounds of extra cash have been made available; they will point out that every winter sees an ‘unprecedented’ surge in demand for all forms of healthcare. What they will not admit is that allocating numbers – whether it is for funding, efficiency cuts, doctors and nurses, hospital beds, hours before being treated or MRI/CAT scanners – is a waste of time. You cannot put a figure to measure the quality of care needed to sustain a health service that needs to adapt if it is to keep pace with demographic and technological shifts.
The bottom line is that we will always require more doctors, nurses, paramedics, care workers, etc (another endless list); we will need more hospital beds, improved medication and the latest diagnostic equipment; social care in the community will have to be expanded and dramatically enhanced. It costs money; ever-increasing and, basically, unfathomable amounts of money.
What is the answer? Sorry for the cliché: it is a no brainer. If we as a nation want the NHS to remain a service that provides ‘free’ care at the point of delivery based on clinical need, we – the tax payer – will have to pay more tax (income tax, council tax, national insurance tax, a ‘health tax; even a combination of the above). Where are the brave politicians who will step forward and present this answer honestly, but passionately, to the British public? No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’; no more excuses. The health of our nation, literally, depends on us all accepting this hard truth!