Special Report; Incompetent and Inept Conservative Government has NHS in turmoil
PART 1: The conservatives promised there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS, they promised there would be no cuts to NHS frontline services, they promised there would be no cuts to nursing and midwifery, there has been and now the NHS is facing its biggest ever national crisis.
For the first time ever eight hospitals across the country have declared 'major incidents' over coping with the amount of admissions to A&E. One in our region is Scarborough Hospital, with Leeds hospital also struggling. A further 26 hospitals are considering declaring 'major incidents'. Five of those are in the Yorkshire region. David Camerons savage cuts to the NHS have created a North - South divide in staffing levels. Figures reveal that more than 75 per cent of healthcare jobs that have been lost since the PM took office in 2010 have gone from the north of England.
The latest workforce statistics obtained by Nursing Standard magazine from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal that there are 348,311 nurses, midwives, school nurses and health visitors working either full-time or part-time in England. That is 4,991 fewer full-time posts than when the coalition government came to power.
Problems in the NHS have been growing year on year since 2010.
There is now an unprecedented number of people waiting for longer than 4 hours, the last quarter nearly reached nearly 500,000 patients. Over 200,000 people waiting longer than 6 hours in accident and emergency. The latest performance is the worst quarterly result since the the target of being treated before four hours was introduced by Labour at the end of 2004. For the past five quarters the amount of people waiting longer than four hours increased.
In nearby Lincolnshire, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Boston Pilgrim, Lincoln County and Grantham hospitals, said all three were on "black alert" - which signifies ongoing high demand for beds - and it has had to cancel leave and call in more staff.
'Never this bad' Pauline Pratt, acting chief nurse at the trust, said: If someone is sick we will treat them somewhere as best we can." Tina White, deputy director of operations at Boston Pilgrim Hospital, in Lincolnshire, said: "I have worked in the NHS for 34 years and I have never seen it quite this bad. Paul Marshall chief of health at York NHS trust has worked in the NHS since 1971 and stated that due to the crippling changes set on us in the last few years there is going to be an ever lasting impact on hospitals, i have never seen things this bad. There is a resounding agreement amongst all staff that NHS is now in turmoil.
In August of 2012 Andy Burnham Labours shadow health secretary warned that the coalitions government cuts to the NHS front line services and nurses would cripple the NHS. In the winter of 2012, between the 9th of November and 2 December of 2012, there were 20,018 "ambulance queues" – where patients were held outside A&E for longer than half an hour – against 14,281 over the same period in 2011 and 11,515 in 2010. In 2013 the figure nearly doubled that of 20,018 in 2013 and the 2014 figures reached over 48,000.
Nursing shortage; Since the coalition govt took over in 2010 nursing figures have fallen dramatically year on year. In May 2013, there were 348,311 qualified staff working in nursing, midwifery and health visiting, down 5,601 on the 353,912 in May 2010. And figures are suggesting that in 2014 a further 1,300 nurses were reduced. The data was released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
In the summer of 2013 Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham stated that: "Report after report has warned David Cameron of the central importance of nurse numbers in providing safe care for the country. "But these cuts to the NHS frontline show he is ignoring these warnings and allowing hospitals across England to operate without safe staffing levels. David Cameron has failed to act. And now in January 2014 hospitals across the country are declaring major incidents for not being able to cope with patients. Locally Scarborough hospital has cancelled all routine surgeries and some wards have been working with only 3 of the needed 8 nurses to successful manage a ward of patients. Figure's of ward consistency, manageability and patient care are at the worst since records began.
Andy Burnham speaking to BBC News today stated that there has been a “toxic mix of cuts and privatisation” with the coalition also voting not to increase nurses wages which has seen many leave the profession. There has been a systematic failing by the conservatives and Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron have not only been adamant in denying the crisis they have not acted on labours proposals to improve the crisis. The labour party has motioned four separate votes in parliament since 2010 to tackle the NHS crisis and to oppose the Health and Care Social Act, the conservatives and Liberal Democrats voted against on all occasions.
In September of 2012, Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor of Worcester University, wrote to David Cameron asking him to intervene to stop what he called the “madness” of cuts to training numbers. In two years the number of nurses being trained annually has dropped by an eighth, from 20,092 in 2010-11 to 17,546 in 2012-13, according to official statistics from Nursing Times magazine.
Prof Green stated: “It is madness to cut the numbers of nurses in training when the reality is that we will - with an ageing population - need more nurses not less in the future. How we are training less nurses is beyond me.” If the situation continued it would lead to a “national disaster” that the Government would have to sort out, he added.
And now in 2015 we are dealing with precisely what Mr Green and many other health professionals warned a huge nursing shortage.
Dr Peter Carter chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, urged David Cameron stop the cuts to training nurses he stated to the telegraph newspaper: “We fear that these cuts to nurse training places may signal to a return to the chronic shortage of the early 1990s the last time the conservative were in govt.
“Cutting nursing places is a false economy that only stores up problems for the future. "
All warnings from professionals and the shadow Labour Government to the conservatives were dismissed, laughed off and brushed off. Ed Miliband Labour leader led with questions to the prime Minster last year regarding the NHS a total of fifteen times, and not once did David Cameron admit that his handling of the NHS is causing havoc to frontline services and more importantly the care of people like the readers and viewers of this article.
At Selby Everyday we support Labours plan to overturn the health and social care act brought in by the conservatives and supported by the liberal democrats. No other political party will over turn the health and social care act. Speaking today Andy Burnham stated on BBC news that, The Act they’ve introduced has put the NHS on a fast-track to privatisation, tendered care managed by budget sheets to increase profits. The NHS is at a crossroads. This year that’s coming will be decisive in determining what kind of NHS we will have in the rest of this century.
Below we back Ed Miliband's Campaign to save the NHS.
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