The Hospital Consultants & Specialists Association President Professor Ross Welch has called for more funding, beds and staff rather than “creative accounting” if the government is to address NHS England and social care underfunding.
The call comes amid stark and mounting evidence that budgetary constraints are severely hampering hospital doctors’ ability to deliver safe and cost-effective care to patients.
HCSA President Professor Ross Welch (pictured) said: “HCSA is alarmed to hear of hospital doctors unable to perform routine surgery across the country as hospitals cancel admissions while beds fill up with patients awaiting discharge into social care.
“This is inefficient and frustrating for all NHS staff as well as the patients they care for. It is also predictable given the successive warnings over underfunding of both social and health care in the past year.
“This is partly the result of cutting hospital resources to the bare minimum. In the past there was always spare capacity in terms of bed numbers to absorb peaks and troughs of demand. Staffing levels were similar, so that in the troughs staff could catch up and maintain competence ready for the onslaught of the next peak.
“The fundamental issues of insufficient social care capacity and lack of hospital care staff, recently exacerbated by the imposition of the new trainees contract with its additional constraints, will not be solved by fiddling with targets and measures.
“HCSA does not see that creative accounting with the emergency department four-hour target will do anything to ameliorate the real issues with A&E workload, staff stress or patient safety.”
HCSA represents hospital doctors of all post-foundation grades and following national recognition by NHS Employers on December 22 2016 will be involved as well as the British Medical Association in all negotiations around pay, terms and conditions for its members in England.