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In April 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an emotional thank you to the nurses on television who had saved his life when he was ill with Kovid-19 and promised to give all the necessary funds to the public health system.
After more than a year, British medical staff are condemning empty promises and feeling “cheated” as experts warn of the dangers of continued low investment.
Prior to the epidemic, the NHS, an independent British health system that the British worshiped, was “already in a difficult position”, recalls Stuart Tuckwood, nurse.
“We were lagging behind in treatment” due to a chronic shortage of staff and hospital beds, said this officer of the Union of Civil Servants Unison.
Hospitals and their staff then had to deal with the stress and hellish program of several devastating waves of Kovid-19, which killed more than 127,000 people in the United Kingdom, the country most bereaved by the virus in Europe.
‘A lot of NHS workers end up with heavy physical and mental issues’ so when the government said she (them) was going to get a 1% increase, it felt like a huge treason, “continued Mr. Tuckwood is.
This meager concession has gone far beyond the main stakeholders: if Labor opposition leaders are calling for an increase in salaries of so-called essential workers, pop star Dua Lipa also joined it.
Receiving an award at the Brit Awards this week, he called on Boris Johnson to “give a good upbringing”.
“The pressure on NHS staff is not sustainable and people are tired,” Stuart Tuckwood insists.
– “Risk Excellent” –
A recent British Medical Association study of 2,100 medical staff found that more than one in five planned to leave the NHS and change careers because of one year of intense stress and fatigue.
Stuart Tuckwood explains that while nurses are often seen as underpaid, many caregivers or less skilled workers earn even less. And many people live below the poverty line.
Royal Nurses College is seeking a 12.5% increase, while Unison wants £ 2,000 per person per year as an exceptional bonus.
Franco Sassi, professor of health policy at Imperial College Business School, is concerned about the “lack of additional structural money (…) beyond commitment at immediate expense in the event of an epidemic”.
Health spending in the United Kingdom was already “43% lower than in Germany and 15% lower than in France before the epidemic,” he said.
The number of doctors in Britain, at 2.8 per thousand people, is “well below the EU average” and the number of hospital beds is the second lowest in Europe, Sassi continues in a statement. Note published on the Imperial website.
If this delay is not rectified, “the NHS will not be able to meet the needs of patients after the epidemic”, he concluded.
More investment will put public finances under even greater pressure, but “leaving the NHS under-financed in this way poses a huge risk”.
– “Catch” –
The Conservative government of Boris Johnson, for its part, has announced “to invest a record during the epidemic and £ 7 billion (more than 8 billion euros) of additional funds for social care dedicated to the NHS and Kovid-19” Has claimed According to the Health Department spokesman.
In addition, other civil servants have withheld their salaries this year, unlike NHS employees, and NHS employees “have benefited from multi-year pay deals with unions,” he says, not to mention handing bonuses. Upgraded to lowest paid civil servants, including those from the medical sector.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies, yet a supporter of budgetary conservatism, is also concerned in a study published on Thursday: “5 million people are now waiting for regular hospital treatment” in the United Kingdom, with about 10% for over a year. Includes, notes IFS.
“It would take years and billions of pounds to make up for lost time,” he insists.
The British government has announced £ 160 million (more than 185 million euros) on Thursday to help accelerate this catch-up of care, more than a year after the epidemic.
© 2021 AFP