LETTER: Missed opportunity to boost the NHS

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With the NHS facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, the Budget announcement has fallen short of what is needed to address the long-term funding problems which unfortunately look set to continue.

Iincreasing pressure on services means many waiting-time targets haven’t been met for years and patients face longer delays to see their GP as the crisis in general practice has left many surgeries struggling to cope.

As Government figures reveal a significant fall in the number of GPs and three in four medical specialities struggling to fill training places, recruitment and retention should be a priority for the NHS, yet the Budget offers little solution to this crisis.

The Chancellor’s failure to commit extra funding for public health issues means the damaging impact of alcohol, tobacco and poor diet will continue to cost the NHS billions each year to treat. While the proposals in the Budget will go some way toward easing short-term pressures, this was largely a missed opportunity to prioritise patient care and create the sustainable future the NHS needs.

Dr Rajeev Gupta

BMA regional council 
chairman