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NHS in critical condition
Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party
"It was never-ending, there were more and more patients being wheeled in." This was the comment of a man whose 88 year-old mother-in-law spent six-and-a-half hours waiting to be seen at the A&E Unit at Queens Medical Centre (QMC), Nottingham.
That day QMC declared a 'critical incident', which meant its ability to deliver critical services was threatened.
This is one level up from OPEL 4 ('black alert') which had been reported for several days previously - defined as an inability to deliver comprehensive care, placing patient safety at risk.
The 88 year-old woman, a retired NHS worker said, "this isn't a winter crisis, it's a Tory crisis.'
The BBC discovered that in 2018 two NHS trusts spent more than 120 days at OPEL 4.
A&E is the point at which the crisis in the NHS shows most starkly. It is a symptom of all cuts to the NHS and social care.
The crisis is a result of closures and underfunding that has worsened since 2010. One in six A&E and maternity units have been closed or downgraded or are earmarked for it.
The NHS is 100,000 staff short. 94% of NHS bosses say that buildings endanger patient safety. The Private Finance Initiative which was used to build £12.6 billion worth of hospitals, is costing the NHS £80 billion in repayments.
18% of NHS work is already privatised and it is in danger of being destroyed by a US trade deal after Brexit. The Tories refuse to sign an election pledge to say that it will not happen.
Labour, on the other hand, has promised to end all privatisation in the NHS as well as increase funding.
The NHS must be fully funded, fully staffed, public and free at the point of delivery, under the democratic control of NHS staff and users.
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