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Doctors warn Truss over NHS ‘fantasy’

Liz Truss has been warned against “fantasy predictions” that the NHS can return to normal without radical change and was told that “unacceptable standards” are being normalised.

In a rare political intervention, the professional standards body for the UK’s 220,000 doctors agreed that the NHS was routinely letting down patients. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said politicians must be prepared for radical changes to save the health service. Closing smaller hospitals, accepting that routine dentistry cannot be free for everyone and a return of Covid volunteers to allow doctors to treat more patients were all suggested by the head of the academy.

The academy released a report that declared the NHS was in crisis, writing: “The system is providing increasing proportions of care or services which are sub-standard, threaten patient safety, and should not be acceptable in a country with the resources that we have in the United Kingdom. If we do not act with urgency, we risk permanently normalising the unacceptable standards we now witness daily.”

The report sets out a series of recommendations for reform, including boosting staff numbers, reforming social care and spending more on technology.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, the academy’s chairwoman, said patients were facing a “dismal winter” and that politicians must take difficult decisions. “If we don’t make changes it will inevitably deteriorate further,” she said. “The demand isn’t going away, the pressure isn’t going away, which is why the challenge for our government and for our whole society is to confront these issues and have a difficult conversation.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 9 September 2022


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