NHS Medical Chief Warns Staff Cuts Make Hospitals 'Unsafe'

Dr Andy Mitchell Has Warned Patient Safety Is At Risk From NHS Cuts

14.10.2013

Dr Andy Mitchell, the NHS' medical director for London, has called on changes to the way hospitals are run.

The official claimed medical institutions are being pushed to breaking point by staff shortages and this could put thousands of patients at risk.

Governmental spending on the NHS has been ring-fenced from cuts and has actually been increased in some areas but a drive for efficiency led by secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt has, according to some critics, led the service understaffed.

Dr Mitchell admitted he is doing all he can to patch up a number of problems but there are obstacles in the way of progress on service improvement and cost cutting.

"At times, throughout the week, even throughout the day, services aren't safe. I feel anxious sometimes about saying it is unsafe, because I, of course, have got a responsibility to change it and improve it, but we are trying to patch up all the time," the official commented.

"What we cannot do is carry on with the idea that all hospitals provide a whole range of services."
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham blasted the government in the wake of Dr Mitchell's statement and said David Cameron's plans for the NHS were both "short-sighted" and bad for the economy.

However, coalition figures have fired back at Mr Burnham and Mr Hunt claimed the Labour figure ignored widespread negligence at a number of hospitals while he was in charge of the NHS before the 2010 elections.

The opposition politician dismissed these claims and even threatened to sue the Conservative secretary of state for defamation, which would be unprecedented in modern UK politics.

Mr Hunt recently revealed a £500 million fund will be made available to struggling accident and emergency departments in the coming months to cope with any potential emergency budget failures, although the government hope this is not touched by NHS trusts and will only be a contingency.

Expert Opinion
Dr Mitchell has raised some very serious concerns regarding the healthcare system and we would urge the NHS and the Government to work together to further investigate his claims.

“Staffing levels are of course a vital part of ensuring a high quality of care can be provided around the clock, so it is very important that steps are taken to examine what can be done in this area to ensure patients are always guaranteed the best possible support.

“As with any issue in the NHS, patient safety must always be the top priority.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner