The letter sent to the Prime Minister by senior A&E specialists, including doctors from Addenbrookes, outlining the plight of the NHS and its chronic underfunding “shows the government’s lack of investment in health is a national betrayal” says Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner.
He says: “The staff in our NHS are dedicated, professional and doing a brilliant job, but they are being put in an impossible position. The system has insufficient capacity and is at breaking point. The time has long passed for a significant injection of extra resource to keep the NHS caring for the nation, as Labour has done in the past.”
“We pay our taxes so that they can be used to build a society which keeps us all safe and healthy – it is a national betrayal that the Conservative government are refusing to preserve and maintain our greatest national treasure, the NHS”
As in the rest of the country, the local NHS is at breaking point. Figures provided by Cambridge University Hospitals show that on Saturday 30th December A&E attendance figures reached 348, which was close to the all-time record on 16 October of 390 patients. Bed occupancy was close to 100 per cent all week, as it has been most of the winter. The number of outpatients in September 2017 was 30% higher than in September 2012.
Like many other Trust across the country and according to national recommendations, Cambridge University Hospitals cancelled all non-urgent elective adult inpatient surgery until the end of January. They report that many staff put their holidays on hold over Christmas and New Year to help treat patients.
The letter, reported in The Guardian yesterday, tells the Prime Minister that the “current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.” It goes on to report that there are “insufficient [numbers of] hospital and community beds and staff of all disciplines especially at the front door to cope with out ageing population’s health needs.”
The doctors report their personal experiences, including nightmarish situations such as “Over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely.”
Mr Zeichner says “The NHS clearly warned the Prime Minister that more money was needed – she ignored that advice, and the consequences are now clear. It is astonishing and depressing that we now regularly hear clinicians talking about ‘avoidable deaths.'”