The BMA has called upon chancellor Philip Hammond to invest £3bn in general practice, as he prepares to outline the Spring Budget tomorrow.
In a letter to Mr Hammond, BMA chair Dr Mark Porter said that if the UK matched the average health spending of Europe’s 10 leading economies – at 10.4% of GDP – the UK’s spending in 2015 would have been £10.3bn higher.
He said this could have funded, for example, 35,000 more hospital beds and £3bn put towards 10,000 GPs, including their staff and premises costs.
He said: ‘The crisis facing the NHS and social care is well known and becoming increasingly severe – the Government cannot remain a bystander any longer.
‘An entire system under such strain is not due to frontline financial mismanagement, or individual chief executives’ poor decision making, it is due to the conscious underinvestment in our health service.’
He added that BMA members report that ‘services are truly at breaking point, with unprecedented rising patient demand met only with financial restraint and directives for the NHS and social care to make huge, unachievable savings through sustainability and transformation plans across England’.
He concluded: ‘We are not calling for more than other comparable nations, we are simply calling for you to match the average spending of other leading European economies.’
The news comes as NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said last week that he is not expecting the NHS’s funding problems to be solved by tomorrow’s budget.
But he added that he was among those urging the Government to plug the gap in social care funding that has been shown to be adding significant pressure on NHS services.