The head of one of the largest trusts in the NHS has quit in protest over Tory funding cuts that are crippling the health service.
King’s College hospital chair Bob Kerslake, who lead the civil service until 2015, resigned yesterday (December 11) after a long running dispute over the central London trust’s finances.
The respected cross-bench peer, who is advising the Labour Party, said the government is in denial about the funding crisis facing the NHS.
In an article for the Guardian, Kerslake said, “King’s, like many other hospitals, is fighting against the inexorable pressures of rising demand, increasing costs of drugs and other medical supplies, and the tightest spending figures in recent times.
“There are undoubtedly things that I and the trust could have done better, there always are, but fundamentally our problems lie in the way that the NHS is funded and organised.
“We desperately need a fundamental rethink. Until then we are simply ‘kicking the can down the road’.”
Following Kerslake’s resignation the health service’s financial regulator, NHS Improvement, placed King’s into “financial special measures”.
Kerslake’s departure comes after NHS chief executive Simon Stevens’ called for £4bn of emergency funding to prevent the crisis worsening.
Chancellor Philip Hammond ignored the request during the recent budget and mocked Stevens for implying that “Armageddon will arrive” without the cash injection.
Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said, “This intervention from a highly-respected figure from the frontline of the health service should be a major embarrassment for the government – yet given the Tories’ disregard for the NHS and its staff there is little hope that it will spur action.
“Kerslake’s resignation is further evidence that the seven years of destruction the Tories have reigned down on the NHS is adversely affecting patients and that the recent Budget offered nothing of substance to reverse the crisis.
“Only by injecting fresh funding into the health service, and giving staff a decent pay rise that will allow them to get on with job instead of worrying about making it through the month, can the jewell in Britain’s crown shine again.”
Kerslake’s is the second high profile resignation over Tory policy in as many weeks.
Last Sunday, the entire board of the government’s Social Mobility Commission resigned in protest over Theresa May’s abject failure to deliver on her promise to address the “burning injustice” of inequality.