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Nov 15th, 2017

The State of the NHS: rationing and closures as cuts bite

By Nuri Syed Corser

Executive summary

The founding principle of the NHS is universally accessible health care that is free at the point of use. With increasing demand and diminishing budgets, this founding principle is at risk.

New analysis by 38 Degrees has uncovered the impact of funding pressures on the NHS. For the first time, collected together in one place, are details of cuts made and threatened to NHS services, between June and October 2017.

In this short four month timeframe, cuts were made or threatened to 70 frontline NHS services across England. This snapshot reveals the threat that underfunding poses to NHS services across the country, including accident and emergency departments (A&Es), mental health facilities, GP surgeries, mental health services, and maternity units:

•Cuts were made or threatened to at least 70 frontline NHS services between June and October 2017.[i]

•These 70 services included at least nine GP surgeries reported to be under threat, seven mental health facilities, six A&Es, and four maternity wards.[ii]

•45,000 patients could be affected by the cuts made or threatened to GP surgeries alone.[iii]

The rationing of important services has also become widespread with 90% of CCGs not offering the recommended three cycles of IVF treatment,[iv] and seven in ten doctors claiming funding pressures have restricted their ability to prescribe approved medications.[v]

This news comes as further evidence demonstrates the lack of NHS funding:

•Between 2010/11 and 2014/15 health spending increased on average by 1.2% a year in real terms – compared to the 3.7% average annual growth rate for health spending since 1948.[vi]

Over 170,000 38 Degrees members are calling for more money to be given to the NHS in England in the Chancellor’s upcoming Budget, to reverse the threats to frontline services across the country.

•Our analysis is based on local and national media reporting of confirmed or planned NHS closures or downgrading between June and October 2017. Some of these plans will now have been abandoned, often due to campaigns led by 38 Degrees members. However, many will have gone ahead, or be due to go ahead. This analysis demonstrates the tough decisions that NHS leaders across the country are being forced to consider

You can read the full report here.

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