NHS problems ‘worst since 1990s’ says King’s Fund

NHS services in England are deteriorating under the coalition in a way not seen since the early 1990s


NHS services in England are deteriorating under the coalition in a way not seen since the early 1990s, according to a new report by a leading health charity.

The Kings Fund report into the NHS under the coalition found failings across the health service, all of which have been compounded by the ill-advised reorganisation.

The Health and Social Care Act, introduced in 2012, was “damaging and distracting at a time when the NHS was facing unprecedented financial challenges”, the report said, and had worsened the pressures faced by the health service.

The report stated that the financial position of most NHS providers had also deteriorated toward the end of this parliament:

“By month nine of 2014/15, the NHS trust sector was running a year-to-date deficit of £467 million with a forecast end-of-year deficit of £448 million.”

And the Fund expresses concern about A&E and cancer waiting times, which are at their highest levels for many years. They found that “pressure on A&E departments can have a knock-on effect in the rest of the hospital….. last winter, the number of cancelled elective operations peaked at 2,424 compared to 1,298 in the same week in the previous year”.

In the last quarter of 2013/14, the waiting time target for cancer treatment was missed for the first time, and continued to be missed in the subsequent three quarters.

Meanwhile added pressures are having a damaging effect on staff morale; between 2010 and 2014 the number of NHS staff reporting illness due to work related stress was up by nine per cent to 38 per cent.

Commenting on the report, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said:

“Five years ago, David Cameron stood on a promise to protect the NHS. This report provides authoritative proof that he has broken that promise and the NHS as we know it can’t survive five more years of the Tories. 

“They pushed through a damaging reorganisation without the consent of the public and the NHS has gone downhill ever since. Thursday 7 May is shaping up to be David Cameron’s day of reckoning on the NHS.

“What is clear is that the fragile NHS we now have can’t take five more years like the five it has just had. It can’t afford the Tories’ plan for deeper care cuts in the next parliament.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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