NHS could 'crash' without more money, warns Lib Dem Health Minister

12 November 2014

NHS could 'crash' without more money, warns Lib Dem Health MinisterNHS could 'crash' without more money, warns Lib Dem Health Minister

At the risk of "betraying patients", the Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb has warned that the NHS in England needs up to £1.5bn extra cash ahead of the general election-or else there may well be a "crash" in NHS services.

Speaking to the BBC, Lamb went further on to add that the current government needed to make the money available from next April after first pledging its release in next month's Autumn statement. Not doing so risks "betraying patients" he added.

While the government states it has already increased NHS funding by approximately £5bm, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has not ruled out further spending if the economy improves.

"The NHS could crash, this is the risk"

Mr Lamb reiterated the kind of dangers that Mistreatment.com has seen prevalent in the NHS services in England when dealing with enquiries from general public. These have led to medical mistreatment and increasing NHS complaints due to increased waiting times, misdiagnosis and severe delay and an inability for the NHS service to meet increasing patient demand. Mr Lamb stated further to the BBC:

"If we don't get the additional resource, then you would see increasing numbers of trusts getting into financial difficulty, you would see growing numbers of people waiting longer for access to treatment, and longer waiting lists to get to see your GP.

"None of this we want, and I think we have to grasp the nettle now and acknowledge that the system needs more resources."

Last month the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, described a "funding gap" in the NHS which Mr Lamb says needs an extra £1bn more funding per year from 2016 to fill.

Mr Lamb said: "Simon Stevens made the case in his forward view that the system has performed remarkably well over the last five years and we've maintained funding for the NHS throughout this period.

"But the fact is that across the developed world costs are rising at about 4% a year, challenges like the fact that we're all living longer, we've got a big challenge with dementia, with obesity, and all of these things cost extra money and the judgement from very many people is that the NHS now needs additional resources for 2015-16 and the Lib Dems are making the case for it."

The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham was quick to criticise the statement, saying: "You can't trust a word the Lib Dems say. If the NHS is facing a crash then it is as a result of their and the Tories' policies.

"This is breathtaking hypocrisy, even for the Lib Dems. Thanks to them it's getting harder to see your GP, waiting lists are up and £3bn has been wasted on a top-down reorganisation while frontline staff have been lost.

"This is the record of this Government: an NHS going backwards under the Tories, made possible thanks to the support and the votes of the Lib Dems.

"Rather than bickering amongst themselves the Lib Dems and Tories should be focussing on fixing the mess they've made of the NHS."

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