While the 2023 Spring Budget was good news for wealthy people adding to hefty pension pots, informed observers appear unanimous in warning that Jeremy Hunt’s failure to increase revenue or capital allocations to the NHS will have serious consequences.
Leading NHS bodies have warned the Government that any pay awards above 3.5% cannot be funded from existing budgets ‘without consequences’- the unions claim to have got a commitment that their recent pay deal would be funded, but this is a Government whose promises are rarely kept!
Next week Junior Doctors across the country in every hospital will be taking a further four days of strike action starting on Tuesday 11th April. The Government could have prevented these strikes, but refuses to even discuss this year’s pay award, offering only a one-off bonus and insisting that the union must agree in advance of any talks that any offer must be recommended by the BMA to their members!
SUPPORT THE JUNIOR DOCTORS STRIKE:
A group of us from ESON joined Junior Doctors from Ealing Hospital and West London Trust during their last strike in March. Many were angry that, despite their massive efforts during the pandemic, they have been forced to strike as they see no choice with such an intransigent Government.
One of the junior doctors told us “We are out here on the picket line not just to ensure the value of doctors isn’t forgotten, but also to ensure we provide the best care for our patients and deliver a safe NHS for them and us.”
While workload and waiting lists are at record highs, junior doctors’ pay has been cut by more than a quarter since 2008. A crippling cost-of-living crisis, burnout and well below inflation pay rises, risk driving hard working doctors out of their profession at a time when we need them more than ever.
Junior doctor Dr Aislinn Macklinn-Doherty who qualified in 2008, sums up brilliantly what this dispute is all about in her excellent article here:
“Every single one of us has dedicated our lives to caring for patients. We wake up in the night thinking about our patients. We leave our families, travel across the country, take countless exams, read papers into the night, volunteer for extra hours, work thousands and thousands of unpaid hours across our careers, all in the interests of caring for patients. But enough is enough”
They absolutely deserve our full support!
JOIN THE DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF JUNIOR DOCTORS:
ESON and other NHS campaigners will be joining the demonstration next Tuesday to show our support for the junior doctors – It would be lovely if some of you could join us – look out for our colourful banner in Trafalgar Square.
OUR PERSONAL DATA IS UNDER THREAT:
Rather than investing in our health service in order to bring down waiting times and improve patient care, the government is instead planning to spend nearly half a billion pounds on a health database they are calling the ‘Federated Data Platform’ (FDP)
If it goes ahead as envisaged, the FDP will be the largest single point of access to NHS patient data this country has ever seen. Yet the government has so far told us almost nothing about it.
The proposed system is vast. The aim is for it to sweep in hospital, GP, even social care records – and make all this patient data available to government planners and others.
Perhaps most worryingly, US spy tech company Palantir is the frontrunner for this £480m contract – a completely inappropriate choice for our NHS!
Campaign groups ‘Just Treatment’ and ‘Foxglove’ along with others are demanding answers to concerns about the safety of our data and will be sharing information and how to campaign to protect our data at their online meeting on 20TH April.
You can sign up for the meeting here
Also definitely worth reading this article by Cori Cryder of ‘Open Democracy’, who together with ‘Foxglove’ have been leading the campaign against Palantir having control of our data.
NHS SURVEY SHOW PUBLIC SATISFACTION AT ALL TIME LOW!
There has been an annual public satisfaction with the NHS survey for 40 years. Not surprisingly the high point was in 2010 after 10 years of catch-up funding and improved services. This allowed the NHS to thrive and be at that time the best in the world.
Public satisfaction now reflects the serious NHS crisis, with only 34% considering the NHS nationally to be providing a good service, plummeting from 43% a year ago and 64% in 2010.
The main reasons people gave for being dissatisfied with the NHS were waiting times for hospital
and GP appointments (69%), staff shortages (55%) and a view that the government does not spend enough money on the NHS (50%).
Satisfaction with GPs, Dentists and A&E waits also reached an all time low – not very surprising.
But the public are clear on the important issues: only 8% agree with government policies on the NHS. The government has failed the NHS, it is not the NHS model failing the public.
The vast majority believe in the NHS founding principles: that the NHS should remain free at the point of delivery (90%), should provide a comprehensive service available to everyone (80%), should be funded primarily through taxation (84%), and needed more funding to succeed (82%) and this includes 63% of Tory voters.
Only 15% want a private service. This means the work of Keep Our NHS Public and it’s local groups such as ESON remains vital.
You can read more on the survey here –
ON THE ‘SOS NHS’ MARCH FOR THE NHS:
ESON supporters attended the ‘SOS NHS’ demonstration on Saturday 11 March, which saw thousands of people march through London demanding that the Government act now to end the extreme crisis in the NHS, a crisis which is causing hundreds of unnecessary and preventable deaths every week.
The demo was also an important expression of our support for all striking NHS workers – and it included large contingents of angry nurses, midwives and junior doctors and received lots of fantastic press coverage, including in the Mirror and Evening Standard.
CHILDREN MUST WAIT FOR A CRISIS BEFORE GETTING AN AUTISM DIAGNOSIS:
The Health Service Journal has recently revealed that new restrictions are being introduced for autism assessments, with some areas only accepting referrals for patients in crisis.
According to the latest NHS data, 140,000 people were waiting for an autism assessment in England in December 2022. This is a 40% increase in the number of people waiting in just one year.
An autism diagnosis is vital to getting the right help and support. Without a diagnosis many struggle at school, work or home, develop mental health problems like anxiety or depression – and in some cases end up in crisis or even in hospital.
The National Autism Society says “The Government committed to making demonstrable progress on reducing diagnosis waiting times in its National Autism Strategy for England. These commitments however, only account for the first year of the strategy. The NAS is calling on the Government to provide immediate funding for diagnosis. Without this the number of people waiting for an autism assessment will continue to increase and more people will be pushed to crisis point”
ESON will certainly be asking if restricted access to autism assessments is also being introduced in our area.
JOIN OUR ONLINE DISCUSSION FORUMS:
Ealing Save Our NHS now has online bi-monthly discussion forums, which means we can have more time for questions and discussions. Our next forum on Tuesday 25th April at 7.30pm will be on the ‘Crisis in Dentistry’. Public satisfaction is at all time low for dentistry, not surprising when only 1 in 10 dentists are now taking on NHS patients and children are filling up our A&Es in pain!
On 1st April our local NHS took over the contracts for dental services, so it’s very timely to have this discussion.
More details to follow on our Facebook page or, if you would like to be kept informed of our Forums please contact us to be added to the list.