Green Councillors are putting an amendment at the Full Council meeting on Wednesday to draw attention to the need to run the NHS in a different way.
They say that resources could be saved if more money went into basic front line services, including better pay and conditions for low paid front line staff.
As things stand, patients will frequently end up in Accident and Emergency departments, or needing expensive hospital treatment, because they have not been able to get an appointment with their GP. Yet the proportion of funding for primary care, including GP surgeries, has been dropping steadily for the last ten years. Meanwhile hospitals are spending vast sums on agency workers while permanent staff struggle to continue on very low wages.
Cllr Jillian Creasy, who has worked as a GP in Sheffield, said, “The NHS would work better if staff were enabled to use their professional judgement and respond to what patients need, rather than being driven by targets and incentives. Cooperation works better than competition.”
Green Amendment to NOM 10 (on NHS) reads as follows
1. Delete all after (f) and insert:
(f) notes that the share of NHS spending on General Practice has fallen steadily from 10.75% in 2005/6 to the current 8.4% and that the recent Deloitte report showed that extra funding in primary care would allow GPs to offer more appointments, saving money elsewhere in the NHS;
(g) notes that despite their 1997 manifesto pledge to “restore the NHS as a public service working co-operatively for patients, not a commercial business driven by competition” the previous government , under the guise of choice and competition, introduced market structures, foundation trusts, GP consortia and private corporations into commissioning, which increased management costs, reduced democratic control and laid the foundations for further privatisation of provision by the current government;
(h) notes that the recent Five Year Forward Plan for the NHS estimates that the gap between resources and patient needs will be Ł30 billion by 2020/21 unless demand, efficiency and funding are addressed;
(i) notes that NHS staff morale is at an all time low and that staff shortages have forced hospital trusts to use agency staff at much greater cost and therefore supports the call by low paid NHS staff for at least 1% pay increase;
(j) recognises that the NHS will only survive and prosper when there is:
(i) a whole hearted commitment to reverse privatisation
(ii) reduced demand by creating the conditions for good health and quality of life
(iii) a management structure which removes the use of targets, incentives and competition and restores professional values and cooperation, so that the needs of patients are met in a timely, efficient and holistic manner, thereby reducing waste.