More than 2000 senior NHS doctors have signed a letter calling on the Prime Minister Theresa May to increase spending on health and social care.
The letter warns that “unacceptable levels of safety concerns” mean things “simply cannot continue” the way they are.
The doctors who organised the letter – Anita Sugavanam, consultant anaesthetist, and Rob Galloway, an emergency medicine consultant, at Brighton & Sussex University Hospital – said it is one that they hoped “we would never have to write.”
In the letter they say: “We are constantly failing to meet our own and our patients expectations. We apologise to them and we also empathise with them. We feel handcuffed and paralysed working in this current NHS. We are exasperated and feel demoralised because we are not able to provide and develop the excellent care we were trained to give. We are simply fighting fires on a daily basis.
“There is a real risk of a brain drain at our level from the UK if this government does not listen to us.”
They urge May to act on a letter sent in January from three leading MPs who urged May to invite all political parties to discussions in a bid to reach a cross party agreement on the future of healthcare and social care funding.
They also call on the PM to act on the recommendations made in the Barker commission in 2014 which said that more people should have free social care paid for by tax and welfare changes and for the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare to rise to at least 10%.
The doctors argue: “It is impossible to provide effective efficient patient-led innovative healthcare which is free at the point of contact when we spend less on healthcare than other comparable OECD countries.”
They conclude by saying: “This is not a political statement. Again we reiterate that we represent the most senior tier of healthcare workers and we are writing to you for the first time en masse. Do not ignore this letter and provide a response as soon as possible.”
Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, commented: “The entire profession has been calling out for help over the last few weeks but these requests seem to have fallen on deaf ears
“Instead of outlining a plan to deal with the crisis, the government has tried to play down the pressure that services are under. The government cannot continue to stick its head in the sand. Our hospitals are in the red, patients are suffering and staff are working under impossible conditions. The system is at breaking point.”