SIA's response to recent Budget announcements
In response to the Budget announcements by the Chancellor, Dr Rupert Earl, Chair of the Spinal Injuries Association, said:
“The conclusion that ‘The era of austerity is coming to an end’ will ring hollow for many thousands of spinal cord injured and other disabled people. Our own evidence shows that the reality is very different; care packages are all too often being cut to unsafe levels, waiting times for hospital admissions and outpatient appointments are getting ever longer and disabled people are more likely to be living in poverty. Spinal cord injured (SCI) and other severely disabled people must get the support they need to live productive and fulfilled lives and contribute to an inclusive society.
“The Chancellor’s announcements regarding the NHS and social care are welcome but grave concerns remain. The increase in NHS spending is historically unremarkable at 3.4% and excludes education and training, capital investment or public health. We wonder when, if ever, additional beds in NHS Specialist Spinal Cord Injury Centres identified in NHS England’s own review will be confirmed. Brexit uncertainties continue to cast a dark cloud over the NHS and care sector. This is especially with regards to the recruitment of essential international staff as well as the wider economic prospects for UK plc on which NHS cash plans are based. We look forward to further announcements regarding the detail of how that money will be spent.
“The crisis in care funding is a reality for many and we wait to see how the modest funding promised will remedy many years of cuts. Our advice line callers tell us of widespread variation in access and eligibility to care, delays in assessment and arbitrary caps on what is funded. Spinal cord injured people – amongst the most vulnerable in society – must not bear the burden of austerity. Fair funding must be amongst the highest priorities, including a welfare system that supports SCI people to live independently and work, when they are able or contribute meaningfully in other ways to society. Only then will SCI people have confidence that the care they need and deserve is safe and sufficient to help them to lead sustainable fulfilled lives.”