Save Our NHS Leicestershire letter published in today’s Leicester Mercury (full text copied below).
“The Leicester Mercury published a report earlier this month (‘Cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council says it needs £600m to cope with rapidly growing population’, June 4, 2019) on Leicestershire County Council’s “concerns about how to find hundreds of millions of pounds needed to pay for new roads and schools to cope with Leicestershire’s population growth.”
“The article states that “currently just under 700,000 people live in the county, but projections say that number will rise by 16 per cent over the next 25 years”.
“Across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR), population growth will be even larger over a shorter period.
“According to strategic growth plans for LLR, housing plans point to 120,780 additional dwellings housing 277,794 additional residents over the next 18 years.
“Leicestershire County Council are right to point out the necessity of expanding services given the planned growth in population. But the difficulty in meeting these needs has to do with principally one thing: austerity.
“Since 2010, government funding for local councils has been cut by more than 50%, stripping public services to the bone. And after a decade of stagnant wages, spiralling costs of living, and increased casualisation of working conditions (close to 1million people are now on zero hour contracts), more and more people have come to depend on an ever-dwindling pool of services.
“The NHS has suffered a similar fate. The Kings Fund, an independent charity, produced a report last year on ‘The NHS budget and how it has changed’, stating that:
” ‘Though funding for the Department of Health (DoH) continues to grow, the rate of growth has slowed considerably compared to historical trends. The DoH budget will grow by 1.2% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2020/21… far below the long-term average increases in health spending of approximately 4% a year (above inflation) since the NHS was established and the rate of increase needed based on projections by the Office of Budget Responsibility (4.3% a year).’
“So, while funding has continued to increase, it has done so at historically low levels, making it insufficient to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.
“As many will remember, in the winter of 2017-2018 thousands of operations were cancelled in LLR due to a lack of beds. Local hospitals were unable to deal with emergency admissions and planned (elective) care at the same time.
“This is why it is so alarming that University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust’s plans to reorganise our local hospitals do not include an increase in the number of beds, despite planned population growth and ongoing issues with capacity.
“UHL argue that an expansion in community services and different pathways of care will offset rising need for hospital care. But massive underfunding in the NHS alongside cuts to local government spending means that community-based care is in crisis.
“Furthermore, UHL’s management have a poor track record of capacity planning – repeatedly building in excessively optimistic assumptions about the ability of community services to compensate for a lack of beds. This is one of the reasons why their 2014 plans to remove 427 beds (24% of the total of the Trust’s 1773 day and overnight beds) were dropped. Campaigners successfully fought to expose inadequacies in the Trust’s plans and.
“The same must be done today.
“Britain is the 5th richest country in the world. If we could afford to bail out the banks to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds in 2008, then we can afford properly funded public services today, including a world class health service.
“To get involved with SONHSL, contact email@example.com or 07896 841 902.”
p. 15 a letter by J H Carter under “Not a good experience trying to give blood” – about problems probably caused by underfunding
Man discharged from Royal infirmary with cannula in his arm https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/health/man-discharged-leicester-royal-infirmary-3012375
p. 23 “Work starts on NHS unit”, subtitled “£8m mental health centre for young people” (Glenfield Hospital)