A lack of investment
Investment lies at the heart of many of the NHS' struggles in recent years, or the lack of. This year's budget, while recognising the importance of mental health by allocating some of the NHS pot to more targeted support in this area, in reality it does not deliver any new funding outside of the additional Â£20billion announced some time ago.
In the North East, services across the board, from general practice to social and secondary care, face another crippling winter and beyond that the pressures show little sign of slowing.
The budget was a chance for the Chancellor to listen to calls from the BMA and independent think-tanks which warned that the NHS needs an additional four per cent a year, not the 3.4 per cent that has been previously promised, but the Government failed to listen.
While any funding that can ease the current mental health crisis and boost struggling services is welcome, we need to move beyond simply repairing the existing problems within our healthcare system and think about the wider picture, with a focus on early intervention and long-term prevention.
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The Government must prioritise patient care by affording the right amount of investment that will deliver the forward-thinking, sustainable NHS we all need; not the one we are currently getting.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East regional council chair