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RCS responds to Simon Stevens’ comments on future of NHS and funding

08 Nov 2017

Speaking at the NHS Providers conference today, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, made a plea for the future of the NHS, saying that unless the Government made significant extra funding available to the health service in the Autumn Budget, patients would face unacceptable waits for treatment. 

Stevens said there would be over 5 million, or 1 in 10 people, on waiting lists for treatment by 2021.  He called on the Government to honour the vote leave pledge and spend an extra £350 million per week on the NHS. 

The Royal College of Surgeons fully supports Simon Stevens’ call for extra funding for the NHS. 

Responding to Mr Stevens’ comments, Royal College of Surgeons President, Professor Derek Alderson, said:

“NHS staff have worked exceptionally hard over the last decade to cut waiting times and ensure that the health service is run efficiently. Unfortunately, over the last few years, we have seen some of this hard work undone as the system has struggled with increased demand. As Simon Steven’s notes, we cannot allow the NHS to descend into the disgracefully long waiting times of past decades.  

“Funding for the NHS is no longer keeping up with the huge increase in demand for treatment. We are not only treating more people but also more types of illness and ever increasingly complex and long-term conditions. All this comes at a financial cost. Staff are doing the best they can with what they have been given. However, it has now reached the point that we are expecting them to perform miracles. The NHS needs more money. 

“Extra funding is obviously not the only solution but it is a vital part of it. We must look at how bed capacity for planned care can be better protected, so that patients are not left waiting longer for treatment when emergency pressures build up. Doctors will continue to do their part in making sure resources are used as efficiently as possible, through programmes such as Getting It Right First Time. NHS Trusts and local authorities will also need to continue work to improve the transfer of patients from hospital to community care when they are ready. 

“We urge the Government to take NHS England’s plea for help seriously.”


Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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