David Cameron has announced a £500 million bailout following warnings that Accident & Emergency departments across the country are on the brink of collapse. As waiting times hit their highest level in nine years, Mr Cameron has stated that the extra funds will help ensure patients are able to avoid “excessive waits.”
The money, which will come from savings made by the Department of Health, is intended to help emergency departments tackle “pinch points” and cope with growing demands. However, the proposals are controversial and doctors have cast doubt over the impact that the money will have.
A spokesperson for the British Medical Association (BMA) said “At a time when they are demanding cuts of £20 billion across the NHS, this is nothing more than papering over the cracks. It is recognition that their austerity programme has hospitals facing ever increasing demands with diminishing resources.”
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said the funding was welcome, but did not tackle underlying problems with the system. She said “we need to tackle the root causes, we have got a National Health Service that is too often fractured and unresponsive …”
A further announcement detailing exactly where the money will be spent is expected shortly.