HEALTH: Invest for the long-term

With winter approaching, health professionals in the North East will be nervous about what lies in store.

Saturday, 27th October 2018, 08:00 am

The announcement by the Health Secretary at the Conservative Party Conference of an extra £240million for social care this winter will go some way towards easing pressure on frontline services.

Of course, this is just a short-term fix.

As experienced in the chaos of last winter, adequate staffing and capacity in social care is a vital part of relieving pressure in the NHS.

Patients can be discharged from hospital in a timely manner, making more beds available for the increasing numbers of people accessing care.

Given, however, the significant impact of decades of cuts to social care across the country – down eight per cent in real terms in England since 2010 – this by no means offers the comprehensive remedy.

If we are to stop the last-minute fire-fighting and put an end to what is now the normal crisis mode of winter, the Government must provide the necessary long-term investment.

Only then will we begin to see the type of change that is necessary to relieve year-round pressures on services and enable sustained improvements to patient care.

Dr George Rae

BMA North East Regional Council Chairman