PRESS RELEASE: £3.2bn shortfall ‘elephant in the room’ for NHS plans

For Immediate Release

HCSA, the only professional association and union dedicated solely to hospital doctors, has today responded to NHS England's Next Steps on the Five Year Foward View with a warning that the "rosey picture" it presents will not be recognised by many hospital staff.

In response Eddie Saville, General Secretary of recently nationally recognised HCSA – The Hospital Doctors’ Union, said: “Once again we have an aspirational document from NHS England that sets out sensible steps in a number of key areas - particularly in tackling blockages in A&E, and diagnostic and preventative measures.

“However, there is a disconnect between the fairly rosey picture depicted here and the experiences of hospital doctors on the ground. They are grappling with worrying staff shortages and relentless and rising pressure from Trust managers already saddled with millions in deficits.

Brexit threatens staffing numbers and planned additional recruitment remains insufficient to compensate for expected staff departures.

The elephant in the room is the underfunding of the original Five Year Forward View plans, which the Commons Health Select Committee placed at £3.2 billion a year.

The NHS is not a bottomless cash pit as it is sometimes depicted, but given the big gap between the budget requested for this major reorganisation and the money forthcoming from government it is little surprise that service rationing is the result.

“HCSA fears that abolishing the waiting time targets for routine operations in order to firefight concerns with A&E will ultimately ignite a fresh blaze in hospitals once this begins to hit the public consciousness.

“Alongside the ambitious and costly reconfiguration plans set by NHS England, we believe that the financial settlement must be reviewed.”