The dire state of the National Health Service has been brought close to home for Prime Minister David Cameron after his own brother-in-law has warned of ‘unprecedented’ pressure on the health service.
Carl Brookes, a cardiologist who is marries to the Prime Minister’s sister Tania, faces embarrassment over the latest revelations which join a list of failings both staff and patients have warned of, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Dr Brooks, who is medical director at Hampshire Hospitals NHS trust, revealed that the trust, which is made up of three hospitals, was so overwhelmed that IT workers and other non-medical staff had to help clinical staff serve meals and do laundry.
Basingstoke Hospital, Hampshire and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester are facing proposals to centralise services, possibly at one new hospital which will be decided on later this year.
Due to the marginal tariff forced on hospitals by the Department of Health for each patient they see above an arbitrary level, A&E departments are actually loss leaders for the health service and the NHS saves money by closing units down, even if patient care suffers. Imagine a pharmacy in a Greece complaining the state only paid one third the cost of medicines they were supposed to give out. This isn’t Greece but it is happening in England’s A&Es.
He also raised the alarm over the pressure on A&E services, which are not only picking up the slack due to a lack of General Practitioners but are struggling to find beds for patients due to a lack of at home social care delaying the discharge of patients.
‘It is important people understand this is unprecedented. There is no doubt that we, and other hospitals around the country, are facing extraordinary challenges,” he said.
And he revealed the emergency department was dealing with an increase of 11 per cent in patient numbers compared to the same time last year.
‘There are problems with access to adult services – we are seeing a lot of frail, elderly people who need special care. If the back door is blocked, it makes it difficult to get in the front door,’ he added.
A leaked email showed how the trust had tried to relieve the pressure on doctors and nurses by asking administrative staff to help out on wards.
In the message, management told staff: ‘There is a desperate need to support clinical staff on wards.’
Labour were quick to attack the Coalition government, but in fact it was a system of paying only a percentage of the full cost of patients treated in Accident and Emergency services to hospitals if they went ‘over quota’ which has done considerable damage.
Combined with the Labour led closures of A&E departments, this has increased the number of people who now attend the surviving departments, sometimes simply because they cannot get a GP appointment at the weekends and evenings due to Labour allowing them to opt out of working.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘If Mr Cameron won’t listen to patients and the public, maybe his own family will have better luck.
‘He has been warned for months about the A&E crisis he’s caused.’
For those departments which go over the quota, they are only paid around a third of the minimum cost to treat a patient for every person they treat over the government imposed targets. This means that they are getting busier and busier and getting simply not getting the funding from the Treasury which is needed to cover their outgoings.
An A&E doctor told Breitbart London, “The marginal tariff needs to end, it’s a Labour stealth cut of 70% that makes it impossible for A&Es to afford the number of staff they really need. Until there is a way of screening out non urgent cases from A&E people will continue to go there rather than wait for a GP. Moving out of hours GP services to the A&E would be a start.”