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Theresa May 'must promise cash boost for dangerously overstretched NHS'

Published 15/10/2016

Labour has warned that the NHS is already dangerously overstretched
Labour has warned that the NHS is already dangerously overstretched

Theresa May must promise extra money for the NHS as it is "dangerously overstretched", Labour has said, following reports that the Prime Minister would deny it a cash boost.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the NHS was facing a cash crisis and is now at a "tipping point".

The Government has pledged to increase NHS funding by £10 billion a year by 2020, although the exact level of money coming forward is disputed.

According to the Guardian, Mrs May has told NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens it will get no extra money in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement on November 23.

Downing Street said it would not comment on private meetings, but Mr Ashworth said: "The NHS is facing a funding crisis with hospitals, GP surgeries and social care dangerously overstretched.

"Just last week we were warned the social care sector was on the verge of 'tipping point'.

"One in four patients are waiting a week or more to see their GP, or not getting an appointment at all, and thousands of patients are waiting hours in A&E and hospital trolleys.

"The crisis is of this Government's own making and it's up to Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt to take action. The Tories promised during the last election they'd properly fund our NHS.

"This is yet another example of Tory broken promises."

The British Medical Association said the NHS would not be able to absorb "efficiency savings" to tackle its budget crisis.

BMA representative body chairwoman Dr Anthea Mowat said: "If these reports are true, the Prime Minister needs to explain how exactly the NHS will keep up with rising demand without the necessary investment. Theresa May talks about injecting £10 billion into the NHS, yet in reality the increase in health spending is less than half of that.

"The NHS is already the most efficient healthcare system in the world. The notion that the funding crisis can be solved with further efficiency savings is a myth, and these are not savings - they are year-on-year cuts that have driven almost every acute trust in England into deficit, led to a crisis in general practice and a community and social care system on the brink of collapse.

"The NHS needs urgent action to put it on sustainable financial footing, meaning these reports, if correct, underscore a lack of understanding from the Prime Minister about just how serious the situation is. Failure to invest now will result in a disaster in the future, both financially and in terms of patient health and care."

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