This is not “just another winter crisis.” This year for the first time in its 69 year history a charity that has been dedicated to war zones and humanitarian disasters, has been desperately drafted in to try and prevent people dying on trolleys in Worcester. This is the endgame for the NHS.And yet our unelected prime minister denies this is happening. This is the world of post-truth politics well and truly upon us.We really should all be worried for ourselves and our relatives. As a junior doctor and cancer researcher looking after patients in the NHS, let me tell you I am terrified by the prospect of what the next few months will bring to patients across the NHS. But let us be absolutely clear about something: this is entirely preventable.Over the last year, many healthcare workers, hardworking and committed doctors and nurses who have dedicated their lives to look after others have had to face a series of attacks on their working conditions and devastating cuts to the quality of care they can provide. I was one of the heartbroken junior doctors forced to leave the hospital in 2016, something that I never dreamed would happen, because I knew that if we didn’t, a crisis would be upon us. I saw my nursing colleagues have their bursaries removed and I watched as businessmen heading up unaccountable organisations in the NHS explained to us that more efficiency savings needed to be made. That we just needed to be worked a little harder, for a little less.
We repeatedly warned that the NHS now has some of the lowest number of beds per person in Europe and we tweeted and blogged that we also have nearly the lowest number of doctors per person in Europe. We went on TV and gave interviews to say that stretching an already underfunded, increasingly privatised and underresourced NHS over 7 days would bring it to its knees. And that driving through more cuts and privatisation through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans would be the end of a high quality universal and comprehensive healthcare system.
And now here it is.
People are literally dying. Our hospitals have been reduced to warzone-like states of crisis in the 5th richest economy in the world. Meanwhile big business circle like hawks over the crumbling broken up mess that this Government has created.
We cannot stand by whilst patients’ lives will are put at unnecessary risk this winter. This cannot be allowed to happen and it must not be written in the history books that we stood by and did nothing.
Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly are organising a national demonstration in support of the NHS on the 4th March 2017 (http://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/). I would urge everyone and anyone who cares about their families and their own future to get out with others and start demanding better decisions are made on your behalf.