Crisis at Addenbrooke’s demonstrates the failings of the ‘NHS Market’

Photo by Rev Stan
Photo by Rev Stan

The critical Care Quality Comission (CQC) Report into standards of healthcare at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, released today is a shocking sign of the deterioration of the National Health Service as it struggles to cope with privatisation, funding cutbacks and dramatically increased demand.

The report has found the hospital, widely recognised as a leader in evidence based and cutting edged healthcare, to be inadequate despite the ‘outstanding’ care provided by the NHS staff who work there.

It comes as the Trust running the hospital struggles to cope with a deficit of £1.2 million a week. The finances of Cambridge University Hospital’s Trust are being scrutinised by Monitor, the NHS Competition Regulator, and the concerns led to the resignation of both the Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer last week.

The Green Party strongly opposed the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 that allowed private companies a stronger foothold in the NHS Market and forced NHS Trusts to tender for every contract. The reforms, recognised even by the Tories as their ‘biggest mistake’, have caused chaos in the NHS. Alongside unprecedented cuts in funding and ever increasing demand, fuelled by demographic chances and decreases in social care spending, the reforms are leading many previously successful trusts into financial ruin.

A Nurse at Addenbrooke’s who is in the Green Party (but who needs to remain anonymous, to protect their job) reacts to the publication of the report today by saying:

“That the staff at Addenbrooke’s have managed to deliver outstanding care under severe pressure is incredible. It goes to show what is holding together the NHS at the moment,  nothing but the professionalism, dedication and compassion of doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, cleaners, porters, and other professionals.

They have done this while seeing their pay fall in real terms every year and facing drastically increased workloads. Now the Government wants to take away their right to protest and strike as well.

This should be a stark warning to politicians, the only thing standing between the NHS and collapse is the dedication of the workforce. They deserve respect.”

Rupert Read, the Green Party candidate for Cambridge at the recent General Election and a longtime ‘Keep our NHS Public’ campaigner, said:

“There’s a lot of talk about the costs of the NHS going up and up, and government failing to meet those costs. But only Greens have the answer as to WHY this is.

We need to fund the NHS adequately, but we also need to reverse the privatisation of the NHS, which makes it more expensive year on year, and we need to tackle the causes of ill-health in our society, from pollution and obesity to inequality. Only if we do these things will be able to control costs – and only then will hospitals like Addenbrookes be able to thrive.”

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