With Austerity becoming an ever-growing challenge to the United Kingdom, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of London on Saturday 3rd of February, calling for the NHS to be properly funded. 60,000 Health workers, patients, union members and activists joined together to demand an end to the “crisis” in the NHS and push for more money from the Tory Health Secretary to fund hospital beds and medical staff. Cuts to the NHS saw January 2018 as the worst month on record for the number of patients seen at the A&E departments, as just 85.3% of patients were able to see their Doctor within the target time of four hours. NHS England described this winter as the “worst flu season in years”, which inevitably put a strain on the health service.
Despite A&E departments holding a four-hour waiting time target, only 77.1% of patients were dealt within four hours in January, well short of 95% target and more than 1,000 patients are having to wait more than 12 hours to be seen -almost double the length of December 2017. The rise in the vulnerability of the NHS is alarming as despite the NHS describing Winter 2016 as the ‘eternal winter’, the recent months have demonstrated a steeper decline in performance in terms of ambulance delays, four-hour emergency target and bed occupancy both in acute beds and critical care.
Recent figures have highlighted the fragility of the current NHS as over 80,000 patients are waiting on on trolleys for more than four hours at A&E in January. Professor John Appleby has stated that “A year ago we warned that corridors had become the new emergency wards. It is deeply concerning that 12 months on the position has worsened, with many harrowing reports of patients being treated in busy corridors by stressed and overworked staff.” With last years nightmare becoming a reality this is a massive setback for the health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt. Despite Hunt ordering that the NHS is to improve its performance, it is evident that the NHS is on its knees and is gasping for funding.
The leader of the opposition ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ demanded that Theresa May introduce an emergency budget for the NHS to deal with the “worst winter crisis on record” to alleviate the pressure on hospitals. Later arguing that “There must be no mistake: the NHS crisis is being caused by the political choices of this Tory Government”. The crippling national health service is down to lack of funding by the current Tory-led Government, and without extra funding, it is likely that the health service will cease to exist.