‘Cuts will result in patient deaths’: hospitals shed medical staff after being told to balance the books

Published on 11 May 2024 at 08:58

An article in the Observer reports the as more NHS trusts in England report budget deficits health leaders warn that waiting lists will rise.  

Hospitals are being forced to cut medical staff, threatening their ability to care for patients, senior health leaders have warned.

NHS trusts are reporting budget deficits after the chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave England’s health service £2.5bn extra funding, which only covers inflation and pay increases.

The UK’s ageing population and the impact of having more than 6 million patients waiting for more than 7.5m treatments means that demand on the health service has increased substantially.

NHS leaders had been recruiting medical staff as part of their efforts to tackle the waiting list backlog, one of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges, but say they are now being told their priority must be to balance the books. The original target was to cut NHS England’s £4.6bn agency workers bill, but that has expanded to include permanent staff and may mean waiting lists for some treatments rise rather than fall.  There are now 25 health service bodies in NHS England’s recovery support programme, the equivalent of special measures, and others are reporting significant deficits.

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