Since the surprise of 7th May 2015, the NHS has fallen into its darkest times since its inception. As a medical student, seeing my colleagues here and across the whole medical profession has, frankly, made becoming a doctor look the least appealing it’s looked since 14 year-old me decided it was the route I was going to take. And I’m not alone in thinking this: since 2014, applications for medical school have been in constant decline. Tahe most recent figures released showed that (from UK applicants) the number of students applying in 2016 compared to 2014 had fallen roughly 13.5%, with one of our fellow London medical schools, St George’s, offering clearing places for the last two years running.
However, it goes beyond just the beginning of training. The staffing crisis has only been exacerbated by the Conservatives. With the infamous Junior Doctor contract imposition, the number of Junior Doctors choosing to stay with the NHS after their foundation training (the first two years after graduating) fell to record lows in 2015 to just 52% (down from 71.3% just six years ago).
And it doesn’t stop with doctors, I don’t have enough words to go into detail, but a simple ‘nurses food banks’, ‘nurse’s strike’, ‘below inflation pay rise’ (for it’s sixth year running) in your chosen internet search engine will give you a sense of the gravity of this NHS-wide crisis.
I’ll obviously be prioritising the NHS on June 8th, but I strongly urge everyone do the same. The NHS brought you into this world, it’s what’ll see you out, and it will be there for every broken bone, mental health problem, and ailment, no matter how large or small, in between. Even without the statistics and endless Terrestrial TV documentaries, it’s plain to see the NHS is at a breaking point, and you don’t need to dust for fingerprints to see who’s to blame.
Personally, I’ll be voting Labour. In Hammersmith they’re the only hope we have against a Conservative gain (with only a 6.8% swing needed for such an outcome). But while this is the case, what I think is best for our NHS is stopping the Tories. Thus I’m taking the typical millennial-Facebook-spamming approach of promoting tactical voting.
Honestly? I’m not sure who would handle the NHS best anymore. The Blair years saw waiting times slashed and resource availability skyrocket, but also saw A&E and maternity services closed in around 60 local hospitals. The Lib Dems’ plans look promising but we all know how easy they are to bend on promises. The only thing I can say for sure is as a future health care professional, me voting Tory is like a turkey voting for Christmas.