A poll of GPs and hospital doctors confirms that the ConDem coalition government is cutting the health service contrary to its promise not to impose cuts on the NHS.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Exclusive poll backs up consultants’ protests over bed closures and longer waiting times for surgery
The coalition’s pledge to protect the NHS is in fresh doubt after four out of five doctors said they had seen patient care suffer as a result of health service cuts during 2011.
A poll of GPs and hospital doctors, carried out for the Guardian, challenges David Cameron’s promise to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”.
Doctors cite hospital bed closures, pressure to give patients cheaper, slower-acting drugs, cuts to occupational health support, and reductions in community health services as examples of recent cost-cutting measures.
Doctors.net.uk, a professional networking site to which almost all British doctors belong, asked medics: “Have cuts to staff and/or services affected patient care in your department, area or surgery during the last 12 months?” Of the 664 doctors who responded, 527 (79%) said yes and 137 (21%) said no.
Among 440 hospital doctors, 359 have seen cuts, while 168 of the 224 family doctors said the same.
Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s hospital consultants and specialists committee, said the poll findings confirmed that the NHS was now “retracting” and doing less for patients, contradicting repeated ministerial pledges that frontline NHS services would escape the government’s deficit reduction programme.
“The reality is that whether you look at it from the point of view of a doctor, another clinician or a patient, there are NHS cuts ongoing and it adds up to a picture where the NHS is now retracting. So it’s hard to marry that back to the original statement ‘I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS’,” he said.
“The evidence all around us of cuts that are being made adds up to a picture where the government has failed to deliver on the promises it made to people on coming into office.”