London NHS Service 'Unravelling'

Report Into Service Levels In London's NHS Found Hospitals Are "Cash Strapped" And "Unravelling".


A new report into NHS hospitals in London has found many are "cash strapped" and "fragmented", which is harming patient care.

The People's Inquiry in London was commissioned by the Unite union and aimed to highlight the problems that doctors and nurses have in providing even the most basic levels of care in the capital.

Inquiry chairman Roy Lilley said he was "shocked" at the "enormity" of the challenge faced by doctors and nurses, conceding that it will be an incredibly complex problem to solve.

"I was truly shocked at the unravelling services, the complexity and the enormity of the difficulty involved in trying to plan and deliver cohesive, integrated services from the wreckage of a fragmented care landscape," he explained.

But despite the scale of the challenge at hand, Unite has published a series of recommendations it believes will improve the service that Londoners receive on a daily basis.

This, it believes, should start with a review of funding across the NHS in London, as the rapidly growing population in the capital has started to put a strain on services across the region.

Unite also posits that there should be an end to the "costly and complex" piecemeal tendering of NHS community services, although it is unclear if the union would like to see this move in-house, or just be given to a single outsourcing company.

Pete Kavanagh, Unite regional secretary for London, said: "What we found was, sadly, not surprising.
"[The Health and Social Care 2012] Act has drained the NHS of an essential £3 billion which ought to have gone on patient care, and imposed horrendous and needless upheaval on the service."

Campaigners have regularly argued that it is not just London that is facing an NHS funding problem, as many areas in the north of England are facing financial problems that patients' groups claim is putting lives at risk.

The government has stressed that cuts in some areas are unavoidable, but has pledged to do more to protect patients.

Expert Opinion
There are worrying concerns raised by this report and it is vital that such issues are thoroughly examined.

“It is vital that medical staff are given the support they need in order to provide the best possible standards of care to patients in the area affected.

“The ultimate priority must always be to ensure that patients are getting the support and treatment they need in a timely and effective manner. The NHS has a duty to provide high-quality services and it is vital that the safety of patients is always the ultimate priority.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner