Speaking after performing the topping out ceremony at Two Rivers Medical Centre, Labour's David Ellesmere set out his concerns about problems across the NHS in Ipswich and beyond.
A brand new medical centre is a real positive for the NHS in Ipswich but across the whole of the service it’s a different story. Latest figures show that nearly every hospital in England is now in the red.
The total overspend for the first nine months of the financial year was an eye-watering £2.3 billion – nearly triple what it was over the previous twelve months.
And the problems appear to be getting worse rather than better. Staff agency costs are still not under control and hoped for savings are not being made. There are fears that the deficit could reach £2.8 billion by the end of March.
This is extremely worrying.
The Government announced that it was making £3.8 billion extra available to the NHS from April. But three quarters of that could go just in paying off this year’s overspend.
A similar overspend next year would see all the new money spent, an unplugged deficit of £1.8 billion and not a single improvement in the level of service.
The Government helped create this crisis when they cut nurse training places early in the last parliament. This is what has led to the increase in agency costs.
The Government’s answer is to lift the cap on the number training places but make the student nurse take out a loan rather than having a bursary.
How attractive taking on a large extra debt to train for a job with an average salary of £23,000 remains to be seen…