Latest Issue

The NHS has faced a public health catastrophe—compounded by a decade of cuts

We should never have had to choose between treating Covid and other critical care. But successive Conservative governments have left our health service vulnerable and under-resourced in a crisis

By Jon Ashworth   June 2021

Photo: Roger Garfield / Alamy Stock Photo

Over the past year, we have witnessed our NHS battle the worst public health crisis in living memory. As we look back on the pandemic, it is clear that we could—and should—have been better prepared. 

The situation we find ourselves in was not inevitable. A decade of cuts and underfunding has put year-round strain on NHS services and undermined our resilience in a crisis. Over 15,000 beds have been cut since 2010 and hospitals are crumbling, with the repair bill running at £9bn. At the point the virus struck, there was a shortage of 40,000 nurses, so our…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect