LETTER: NHS is under the cosh

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As doctors from all across the UK gather in Belfast this week for the BMA’s annual representative meeting, this will be a welcome opportunity to reflect on the pressures facing the NHS.

With the NHS facing financial uncertainty, it is clear that the government, in our view, is in denial about the state of the crisis in our health service which has left most hospitals in England in deficit.

Worryingly, a recent BMA public survey found that only a small minority, 13 per cent, believe that the government is giving the NHS the funding it needs.

Across England cuts of £200 million to the public health budget have meant that services that people have grown to rely on such as sexual health and smoking cessation services are being cut or put under enormous pressure.

These are vital services within the community and cuts of this magnitude will inevitably have a detrimental impact on public health.

As our health service is forced to trade concerns for patient care for financial worries, it clear that the public is losing faith in the government’s empty promise to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”. The government need to step up and finally invest in the health service it promises - the one that our patients rightly deserve.

Dr Mark Porter

British Medical Association Council chairman