Socialist Worker

NHS Christmas crisis is a symptom of a deeper problem

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2433

Hospitals are likely to turn patients away in the coming weeks, as the NHS faces a Christmas crisis. 

This has been the case during the last few years—but it’s likely to be far worse this year as Tory cuts and privatisation bite.

The main problem is the NHS’s staffing crisis. 

The total nursing staff fell from 280,765 in June to 278,924 in August. Thousands of workers have lodged complaints. 

But the cuts are a small snapshot of a much bigger problem. 

Ever growing workloads and poverty pay are forcing health workers to leave their jobs. 

Patients visiting A&E departments are most at risk of being turned away. 

This is symptomatic of a much bigger crisis.

The NHS is in financial meltdown and faces an 

£8 billion black hole —but the Tories are demanding more than £20 billion “savings” every year. 

Health bosses are already cutting back on services, which is hitting patient care. 

North East and West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group announced plans last week to deny obese people and smokers all routine surgery.

And shoulder surgery will be restricted for everyone.

This is part of a bigger cost cutting package. Deaf people will now only get a hearing aid for one ear instead of two.

This was on the grounds that “second hearing aids show far less cost effectiveness than the first”. 

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