For anyone who watched the ‘In good health’ discussion, broadcast on Channel 4 News on Tuesday 24 March 2015, it will hardly come as a surprise to hear that the NHS has effectively suffered a funding freeze over the course of the last Parliament, in the face of rising costs and patient numbers.
However, what may come as a surprise is the extent of the forecast NHS budget deficit, which is projected to grow to £30 billion by 2020.
Whilst the government have been widely quoted as saying it has increased funding to the NHS over the course of the last Parliament, it is clear that with population growth, there are more people than ever accessing NHS healthcare.
This necessarily provokes concern regarding the quality of the care to be provided by an NHS, which is increasingly stricken by an escalating budget deficit.
Perhaps not a coincidence then that Labour should choose to kick off its election campaign with a report alleging that the NHS has missed half of its patient waiting time pledges within the last year, as was reported on the Independent website on Sunday 4 January 2015.
Of course, whilst there is some debate over the precise accuracy of the data quoted by Labour, which some will no doubt see as political point scoring, there is little doubt that the NHS is struggling to cope with increasing patient numbers alongside increasing budgetary constraints. As BBC News reported in June 2014, with funds increasingly being diverted into the Better Care Fund, which will see NHS money diverted into providing social services provided jointly with Local Authorities, this is only set to get worse, and NHS England will face a £2billion deficit in the financial year 2015/16 alone.
When all of this is set against a background of the recent Robert Francis Inquiry into the appalling failures of care at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, it is little wonder that the sustainability of the NHS is in sharp focus right now, and so many are worried about the quality of care they will receive.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of clinical negligence, you may be able to make a claim for financial compensation. Why not call Hilary Meredith on 01625 539922 for free, no obligation, legal advice about whether you can make a claim for compensation.
Neil Crossley, Clinical Negligence Solicitor