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NHS funding boost needed to avoid social care-style crisis, says health leaders

THE NHS cannot cope witout an increase in its budget, health leaders warned today as they called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid a “have our cake and eat it” approach to funding.

NHS Providers called for more investment in the health service, which is facing a “perfect storm” as winter approaches.

On top of the traditional winter pressures, the NHS faces multiple new challenges, including the threat of a second spike of Covid-19 cases, rebuilding services that have been disrupted by the pandemic, staff in danger of burnout and additional needs for infection control, NHS Providers said.

“Growing demand for treatment has consistently outstripped capacity” even before the pandemic struck earlier this year,” stressed NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson.

The organisation, which represents health service trusts, called on the government to examine funding of the NHS.

Dr Hosnieh Djafari Marbini, a consultant anaesthetist and member of Keep Our NHS Public, said: “Systemic policy decisions over the last few decades have created understaffed and demoralised hospital environments.

“Staff have been constantly asked to do more with less, and in increasingly challenging conditions. The pandemic has fully exposed the cracks in our health systems with policy decisions underlined by a capitalist agenda which treats patients as customers and their health and wellbeing as an asset to be sold to the highest bidder.

“So many of us are fearful of what the next few months will bring with overstretched staff, under-resourced departments, and a social care system that isn't not fit for purpose.”

As well as more funds for the core NHS budget, NHS Providers called for more spending on buildings, equipment and staff training.

An NHS Providers survey of hospital bosses found that almost all were either extremely or moderately concerned about the current level of burnout across the workforce.

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