Labour demands reversal of cuts to NHS workforce budgets in Long Term Plan

New analysis reveals NHS training budget plummets to lowest level in 5 years

New research from Labour, undertaken by the House of Commons Library, today reveals that the NHS workforce training budget has plummeted by 4.7% over the past five years.

The fall in the number of GPs has led to some surgeries forming super-partnerships such as the IMH group in Swindon where patients have been experiencing very poor levels of care since the private company came on board.

On Tuesday evening, Sarah Church, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon, along with Parish and Borough councillors for the area, chaired a meeting of Toothill Phoenix Surgery patients to hear what they had to say.

Sarah said, “This is the fifth meeting to be held for IMH surgery patients, and we’ve heard yet again that people cannot get through to the new ‘hub’ at Moredon simply to get an appointment at their local surgery, even if they do wait for over an hour. Patients are really angry about how their tax money is being siphoned off to a private company, and service levels have plummeted.

The GP practices have made this decision as their numbers dwindle just to stay open- this has been made clear to us in a letter from one of the doctors. We need to prioritise the recruitment and training of GPs to make sure that everyone can get an appointment and there is no need to use inefficient private companies, like IMH, who prioritise the bottom line over the quality of patient care.”

Sarah Church says:

According to the latest workforce figures, GP numbers have fallen by nearly 600 over the past year and district nurse numbers have fallen by 43% since May 2010.

Last week the Secretary of State was reprimanded by the UK Statistics Authority for falsely claiming in a tweet there were an additional 1,000 GPs across the NHS in England. He subsequently deleted the tweet.

Labour’s new analysis also exposes the Government’s blasé attitude to the workforce crisis. Health Education England’s funding as a percentage of the overall Department of Health Budget has fallen year on year since 2013/14- to just 3.9% in 2017/18.

Further cuts are imminent, with day to day spending on the wider health budget set to fall by £1 billion in real terms next year. According to the Health Foundation, this includes cuts to the workforce training budget.

Speaking earlier today in the House of Commons Chamber during Health Questions, Jonathan Ashworth MP demanded cuts to NHS training budgets were reversed in the forthcoming Long Term Plan to ensure the NHS has the staff it needs.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, speaking earlier today in the House of Commons during Health Questions, said:

“There are 107,000 vacancies across the NHS, A&E Departments are closing overnight, chemotherapy units are at risk and maternity units are turning away pregnant women.

“And yet the Health Education England training budget is the lowest it’s been for five years and is set to be cut even further next year.

“Does the Secretary of State agree that for his imminent NHS Long Term Plan to be credible, it needs to reverse these training cuts and deliver the staff our NHS needs?”

Phoenix Surgery, Toothill

Public Meeting 27-11-2018