Press Release: Treat the disease not the symptom, Mr Hunt

[11 January 2017]


NHS campaigning group Doctors for the NHS has called on the government to stop denying the scale and cause of the unprecedented crisis facing the NHS and admit that the only workable long-term solution is to ensure funding is adequate.

A growing number of organisations and individuals are pointing out that the NHS is in the worst ever crisis it has faced: the Red Cross [1], doctors’ groups [2] and now nurses [3] as well as health unions have all said the NHS faces an unprecedented crisis – and that it is not confined to A&E Departments. To date, the government has refused to concede that something needs to be done urgently, or even admit the scale of the problem [4] despite the growing chorus of alarm from many reputable quarters.

Dr Eric Watts is Chair of Doctors for the NHS and is a hospital consultant working in Essex:

“The government knew this was coming. The fact that so many are now crying out for something to be done indicates the scale of the problem.

“Looking simply at A&E gives a false picture. Just focusing on A&E in the short term means clinic appointments elsewhere are neglected, for example. The problem is wider and deeper than that. Social care budgets need to be increased as well as the budgets for the whole of the NHS, to bring us back to where we should be.”




Editor’s Notes

Doctors for the NHS (DFNHS) was formed in March 2015 by the NHS Consultants’ Association re-naming itself and asking GPs and medical trainees to join. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [5,6] of the NHS by gathering the already impressive evidence (eg, on health funding – see OECD figures below); pointing to its ill effects on NHS services and founding principles; and campaigning widely to stop then repair the damage before it is too late and cannot be reversed.


DFNHS’s press officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]


Facebook: DoctorsForTheNHS


OECD expenditure figures

These figures give the lie to the arguments that we can’t afford a publicly funded NHS as other countries spend more public money on health services than we do.

We are 15th overall in total spend and 13th in public spending USA and 11 European countries spend more





[5] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.

Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin

Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press

Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.

Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.

[6] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models

[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.

Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]

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