Where will healthcare staff be found to work in the PM’s promised new hospitals?

PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 October 2019

Exmouth Journal guest columnist Cllr Eileen Wragg.

Exmouth Journal guest columnist Cllr Eileen Wragg.


Guest columnists Eileen Wragg feels NHS and care staff are undervalued and underpaid and the healthcare system is failing.

When I was a Devon county councillor, I spent twelve years on various health committees, which, confusingly and irritatingly, metamorphosed from one form to another.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans were announced in NHS guidance in 2015 when 44 areas in the UK were identified for transformation, including Devon.

The plans meant closing hospitals and cutting beds, which were hugely controversial, leading to public demonstrations, as people protested against the losses of their cottage hospitals, which would mean travelling to distant towns for patients and their families and friends.

Fast forward four years, and the current prime minister is promising 40 new hospitals at a cost of £13bn.

Where will the staff be found to work in these promised hospitals?

Our invaluable NHS and care staff elsewhere, including those in mental health and care for the elderly are, in many people's views, undervalued and underpaid, with many on the minimum wage for long hours.

The system is cracking under the strain, with carers suffering ill health, breakdowns and many leaving the profession which they love and to which they have given dedicated care.

More than 400 care homes have closed over the past five years, some due to financial difficulties, and some having failed Care Quality Commission standards.

There is no doubt that the care system is failing, and with falling recruitment due to the uncertainties of Brexit and migration policies, as well as stopping NHS bursary funding for student nurses studying for degrees, the future for healthcare looks bleak.

The prospects? New hospitals lacking staff with beds taken by former care home residents with nowhere else to go.

A cruel electioneering promise lacking practical substance by politicians who are completely out of touch with reality.

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