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The TUC and NHS Support Foundation are launching a new website called NHS Health Check, along with analysis that shows that the NHS in England has a shortfall of 74,000 beds compared to other European countries.
When users enter their postcode, the NHS Health Check provides information on whether there is sufficient provision to meet local need for GPs, healthcare staff and hospital beds – and if not, how big the shortfall is.
The TUC and NHS Support Federation are encouraging people to use the information provided by the tool to campaign locally in the North East for the extra provision needed for a world class health service in their community.
The launch of NHS Health Check follows last week’s government announcement of additional funding for the NHS, and the commitment to a ‘world class’ NHS in a speech by the Prime Minister.
Health economists at the IFS and Health Foundation estimate that the Department of Health would need 4% extra per year to keep the NHS running at current service levels. But if the NHS is to reach the ‘world class’ standard promised by the Prime Minister in future years, then the annual funding increase will need to be 5%. 
The government has committed to giving the NHS around £20bn more a year extra by 2023 – an increase to the Department of Health budget of around 3%. This leaves a funding gap of at least £8bn just to maintain current levels of service. And it leaves a gap of £16bn to meet the funding requirements for a ‘world class’ health service.
Our NHS 70 rally
Unions and campaigners are joining together in London on 30 June for Our NHS is 70, a march and rally to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS and to call on government to keep the NHS publicly owned and properly funded.
TUC Regional Secretary for the North East Beth Farhat said:
“Budget restrictions have left the NHS on the critical list. Services in the North East are stretched, and it puts our hardworking NHS staff under great stress.
“The best medicine for the NHS is the extra funding it needs. But the government is giving it too small a dose to bring it up to full health.
“We all need to raise our voices to support NHS services in the North East, and this tool will help us. You can use the information it provides to write to your MP, phone a radio station or spread the message on social media. Let’s celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS by getting it the proper funding it needs, along with fair pay to attract and keep high quality NHS staff.”
Editors note
- Health check website: The TUC and NHS Support Federation NHS Health Check website for checking local NHS shortages is here:
- Analysis of hospital bed shortfall: The number beds per 1,000 population in England was calculated using two sources: (1) figures on bed availability in England produced by NHS Digital, and (2) the most recent ONS estimate of the population of England. The number of beds per 1000 in the EU-15 was sourced from a report by the Kings Fund (NHS Hospital Beds: past, present and future, 2017) using data from the OECD (2017). This rate was then applied to the English population to calculate the difference between the number of available beds in England's NHS (130,000) and the additional number needed to reach the EU level of 3.7 beds per 1000.
- Our NHS is 70 march and rally: The event takes place on Saturday 30 June. Assembly is from 12noon at Portland Place, London W1A 1AA (nearest tubes: Oxford Circus / Great Portland St). The march will proceed to Downing Street, Whitehall. The rally is calling for (1) A publicly owned NHS that is free for all, (2), Proper funding and proper staffing, (3) Support for our wonderful NHS workers, and (4) World class services for every community. For more information go to:
- Prime Minister’s ‘world class NHS’ speech: The Prime Minister Theresa May spoke about the future of the NHS at the Royal Free Hospital on 18 June. She said her government is com committed to a long-term plan for the NHS that “enjoys the support of NHS staff across the country” and delivers “the world-class healthcare that we all want and expect”. She set out a 5-year funding plan that will give the NHS an average increase of 3.4% up to 2023/24.
- IFS and Health Foundation future funding report: On 24 May the IFS and Health Foundation publishedSecuring the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s. They concluded that, for the period 2018/19 to 2023/24, NHS funding must increase by an annual average of 4% to maintain the ‘status quo’, and 5% to ‘modernise’ the NHS. See table 3.5 on page 86:
- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.
- About the NHS Support Federation: The federation is an independent research and campaign group that seeks to promote comprehensive healthcare that is available all.
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