With the general election looming, politicians from all parties must not duck the crisis in our NHS or allow it to be pushed to the margins by the focus on Brexit.
In the North East, hospitals, general practice and social care have been pushed to breaking point as years of under-investment has left NHS staff and services worryingly over-stretched.
Indeed, a recent BMA survey revealed that doctors are becoming increasingly concerned over funding cuts and the impact on patient care, with more than half surveyed reporting that quality of care had become worse in the last year, with only three per cent believing it had improved.
With the NHS facing a £30bn deficit by 2020 the situation needs urgent attention as worsening NHS performance figures, increased waiting times for treatment and bed shortages are having a direct impact on patient care and safety.
Whoever leads the next government must ensure that NHS funding keeps pace with other European nations, that EU doctors in the UK and UK doctors in the EU are protected from the impact of Brexit, that general practice is properly supported, that policies protect and enhance the public’s health, and that the pressures impacting the day-to-day delivering of high-quality, safe care are tackled.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East regional council chairman