Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has warned that thousands of children are expected to be “mass evacuated” from UK hospitals as the Government’s cuts threaten to take a “massive toll” on care in hospitals.
The charity, which has campaigned for years to protect children from the “chronic underfunding of healthcare services” in England, said the “fatal blow” to care would be the loss of £1.5bn in funding over the next three years.
“The NHS in England will need to take drastic action if it is to survive,” said the charity’s head of health policy, Jonathan Hill.
Dr Hill, who is based in Manchester, said he expected some of those affected to seek treatment abroad. “
We cannot keep funding the care that children need when the NHS is struggling and vulnerable to financial crisis.”
Dr Hill, who is based in Manchester, said he expected some of those affected to seek treatment abroad.
The hospital-based charity is working with other organisations including the UK’s national charity, NHS Trusts and a number of hospitals in the north of England to coordinate and deliver emergency and crisis response plans.
Hospitals in England face funding cuts of up to 80 per cent Dr Hill said that while he was “deeply concerned” about the financial impact on the NHS, the “significant loss” would be “not a very big deal” for some children.
He said: “If there is a major change to the funding structure that affects the number of children in primary care then we have to look at the impact on those children, especially those who are vulnerable, who are in particular need of immediate care.”
He said the vast majority of patients in England’s primary care system were children, and that many of them needed intensive care, rehabilitation and other services.
However, Dr Hill warned that while “every child has a right to safe and affordable healthcare” the NHS was “facing a financial crisis”.
The head of the charity added: “There are more than 60 million children in the UK who will be affected by the cuts, so we will need every opportunity to help ensure the survival of those children.”
He added that while hospitals had “never been better” compared to the “staggering financial pressures” in the mid-1990s, the NHS had been “terribly damaged” by the “pervasive crisis of the last few years”.
Dr Hill urged the Government to support the NHS “in every way we can” to “save the children we love”.
He said while some hospitals were already facing financial pressures, the UK “mustn’t be left in a financial hole by the current funding situation”.
He added: We have seen this before with the NHS in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the situation is far worse in England.
Dr Hill highlighted that the Government “must ensure that children receive the highest level of care they can expect” in hospitals and added: In this challenging economic climate, there is no choice but to save children.
Hospices face cuts The UK’s health service is facing a £1billion (£1.4billion) cut to its budget in 2021 and the Government is working to provide emergency funding for some of the most vulnerable children.
The Government is set to announce further savings on Tuesday, including a £10bn increase to the basic allowance for the disabled.
In a statement, the Department of Health said the health service “will make investments in primary health, care for the elderly, the mentally ill and people with disabilities”.
In a separate statement, NHS trusts have also announced they will lose £1 billion, with £500 million coming from their general fund.
Dr John Williams, the head of child and adolescent services at the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: It’s a devastating blow for the children in our care system and for those who work with them.
“It is a tragedy that our NHS cannot continue to operate as it has in the past, but it is a huge blow to the NHS that the cuts are coming to us in 2021.”
He warned that there were “significant financial pressures that are likely to result in disruption to services for children in all areas of care”.
The Government said it would “continue to provide support for the most at risk in hospitals” and “take urgent action to ensure children in care receive the best care possible”.
The NHS Trust Fund (NTF) currently provides funding to UK primary and secondary schools, and other community providers.
A report released last week by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) found that the NTF could see a “substantial loss” of funding from 2019, as it relies heavily on private funding.
It also found that while the NHS spent “a little over £400m” on health promotion schemes, the NTI had spent “just over £300m”.
The report warned that the “poverty-related pressures” of the NT