Birkenhead MP Frank Field is today calling for a penny increase in National Insurance to plug the "black hole" in NHS funding.

His stance came as a "broken" nurse contacted him to describe the plight of staff working in a struggling Accident & Emergency department.

She "dreads" going into work each day and has been reduced to tears.

And she revealed up to five ambulances at a time are queuing each night to offload their patients as the A&E unit is full to capacity.

Nurses are themselves sustaining injuries due to the shortage of staff available to move beds and heavy equipment.

It has not been disclosed where the nurse works.

Mr Field said the nurse told him: "‘I am desperate.

"I love nursing but dread going into work every day and night as every day is the same.

"I have actually cried this week before going in, worrying about what I'm going into.

"I have been screamed at, had people yelling at me in my face wanting answers and solutions I can't give as I'm only a nurse.

"I worry for my patients, I worry for their families, I worry for my colleagues.

"The only saving grace in this is I'm part of one of the most committed team spirited and fantastic people I have ever met.

"I'm proud to be part of this team but I'm not sure how long we can continue to work like this."

Having recently been invited to give evidence to a key House of Lords Select Committee examining the long-term future of the NHS, Mr Field has submitted a proposal for an immediate penny increase in National Insurance contributions to plug the financial black hole in the NHS.

The proposal also suggests that this should form the first move towards a new National Health and social care service funded in full by a reformed, progressive National Insurance system.

Mr Field is also calling on the Prime Minister to set up a national health and social care convention to work out how to fund the soaring costs of medical and social care.

He said: "The funding of the NHS is currently built upon extremely shaky foundations.

"The impact of this inadequate funding on patient care and staff morale is becoming increasingly clear.

"I therefore believe that the Government should immediately begin weighing up options for an increase health and social care budgets, before taking steps to merge the two services into a combined, adequately funded National Health and social care service."


Wirral Globe:

Royal College of Physicians says hospitals are over-full and have too few qualified staff

The NHS is dealing with its worst ever winter crisis, the head of the Royal College of Physicians has warned.

Professor Jane Dacre said underfunding, lack of staff and problems with social care are making the situation worse than usual.

Asked how things compared with previous years, Prof Dacre told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: "My fellows and members say that it is worse.

"They are reporting to me that it is the worst that they have ever seen and that they are feeling disempowered and demotivated by finding it very difficult to know what to do about it.

"Things have come to a head over the last week because there are reports from our fellows and members - and we have 30,000 fellows and members across the country - that the pressures are beginning to be unbearable.

"There are patients in hospital who are waiting in corridors. We have heard reports of some hospitals where they have allocated a consultant to be the corridor consultant to look after the patients that can't find beds. That's unacceptable."

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has warned that lives are being put at risk by the crisis in the NHS and social care.

The letter, signed by Prof Dacre and 49 members of council, representing 33,000 doctors across 30 specialties, warned that hospitals are "over-full, with too few qualified staff."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We know the NHS is facing increasing demand from an ageing population but this makes building a safer healthcare system more urgent, not less.

"Since just last year we have 3,100 more nurses and 1,600 more doctors.

"We're also joining up health and social care for the first time and investing £10 billion to fund the NHS's own plan to transform services and relieve pressure on hospitals."