LETTER: Underfunded since the 1980s

Maria Caulfield claims that hospitals are failing because of decades of poor management, not lack of finance (Sussex Express November 6).

The UK Spends less on healthcare than any other developed country, and yet it is universally agreed to be the most efficient healthcare system in the world. I worked in the Health Service for 45 years. The last time that the NHS was funded to the general level of other developed countries’ health care systems was under Enoch Powell in the 1960s.

It has been underfunded ever since. The internal market is an expensive nonsense and now the government’s Health and Social Care Bill has added £7billion pa. In extra administrative costs. PFI – a Conservative initiative eagerly adopted by Labour – has been a disaster, and yet George Osborne persists with it.

There is a chronic shortage of nurses, but the Coalition Government cut nursing training from 12,000 places to 7,000. Cutting the Social Care budgets and then seeking to empty hospitals of people who are there because it is their only place of safety is illogical. Hospitals operate 24hrs 
a day, 7 days a week and are free. Social Care operates 9-5 Monday to Friday, is private and means tested. Small wonder that hospitals fill up with inappropriate people.

Yes, there is plenty of bad management in the NHS, but let’s start addressing it from the top. Theresa May is going to remove foreign national nurses after five years’ service because their salaries are less than £35,000 pa. Jeremy Hunt is suggesting that 90 hours per week constitute normal working hours and he is negotiating via the press rather than with the BMA.

David Cameron has wasted £70million on a vanity project of Sunday GP surgeries that 81 per cent of people said they didn’t want and which nobody attends. Three examples of bad management at the highest level.

P. G. Estcourt

Peter House, South Chailey