Cameron isn’t telling the truth on the NHS any more than Osborne on the economy

Cameron’s closing speech to the Tory conference centred on trying to reassure the electorate that the NHS was safe in Tory hands.   But the evidence he produced to justify this proved the opposite.   He promised to protect the NHS in real terms for the next 5 years from 2015 to 2020, the same as he promised for the past 5 years.   But in neither case does this protect the NHS, for two reasons.   One is that the NHS requires expenditure, not just to keep up with inflation, but also even more importantly to keep up with two other sources of demand – the steadily rising number of elderly people, who make by far the greatest demands on the health service, together with the steadily rising costs of new technology and new drugs, both of which grow each year significantly faster than inflation.   Throughout its history the NHS has had real terms funding increases of 4% a year.   Cameron is proposing a 0% real terms increase over the next 5 years, exactly what has happened over the last 5 years where the official figures claim a 0.1% increase since 2010.   This is at least an annual 2% fall in what the NHS needs each year to maintain its existing standards.

Cameron also forgot to mention that his government has imposed a £20bn cut in NHS funding over the current 5 year period.   That explains why it now takes much long to get to see a doctor, why waiting lists for operations are lengthening, why A&E departments are critically overloaded, and why nearly half of NHS trusts are now experiencing serious financial shortfalls.   The total shortfall by 2021 is now forecast by the chief economist for the Nuffield Trust to reach £30bn.   Britain has been falling down the OECD charts for health spending as a proportion of GDP and is now 15th, lower even than Portugal.   Yet what Cameron is now offering is a pledge to fall further still, at a time when the numbers of the elderly over 80 are set to double and the national population is predicted to rise by 3.5 million.

What is really needed is a commitment over a 10-year period to raise NHS funding which is currently 9% of GDP to a similar level to that in Germany, France and Italy which is 11-12% (for comparison the US is 16%).    This can scarcely be achieved by switches in the balance of public spending alone whilst austerity prevails.   It requires a fundamental change in economic policy, away from endless cuts and instead the pursuit of growth via public investment to achieve a rounded and sustainable expansion of the economy and a halving of the dole queues within 2-3 years.

5 thoughts on “Cameron isn’t telling the truth on the NHS any more than Osborne on the economy

  1. “Cameron isn’t telling the truth on the NHS any more than Osborne on the economy.”

    But hey, at least you can still trust us?

    We’re still the same political party that dragged this country into a bloody and completely illegal war, (if that’s even right term,) for an exercise that’s killed, and is still killing thousands of innocent people on the basis of nothing more reasonable or compelling than complete and utter pack of lies.

    I could easily cite other examples, (too many,) of labour’s failures; equally dishonest and equally damning, including the NHS PFI debt and regime of abuse, neglect and apparently of intimidation, that prevailed at Mid Staffs, (certainly according to to Francis report, that typically Labour tried to suppress,) or Rochdale, Rotherham and Birmingham.

    Unless Labour are prepared to phase out the private sector, (and to rationalise the entrenched and frequently overpaid NHS management, people like the odious David Nicholson and his ilk,) abolish the Care Commissioning Board, (and return it’s powers the Secretary of State,) and to completely repeal the Care and Social Health Bill then all of above is simple BS.

  2. On a slightly more rational, (analytic,) and less knee jerk note the problem of demand for public services, including the NHS remains a seminal one.

    What’s been missing and is still missing is any kind of honest, serious or realistic debate about this issue.

    Medical science has now advanced to the point where it is now practical and perfectly possible to keep almost any human being alive, (after a fashion,) almost indefinitely, though at ever increasing financial, emotional and practical cost, not least to other people in as great of greater need those resouces.

    The cost of exotic cancer treatments for example, but with only relatively trivial medical benefits, illustrates this problem perfectly.

    But any attempt to interject any kind basic common sense into this situation is immediately shouted down by the professionally indignant and outraged shrills and by the PR and lobbying of the massive beneficiaries of current dysfunctional status quo, the health-care companies, the many wretched and self serving charities and the kind of unaccountable, self referential and self serving NHS management at every level; exemplified by Andy Burnham, Jeremy Hunt and their immediate predecessors and by David Nicholson and his staff.

    The current policy being adopted surreptitiously by both political parties, amounts in practice simply to gradually phasing out the NHS and access to health for anyone so poor as to be unable to pay an additional fee on top of our NI contributions.

    But since few if any of our politicians still use the NHS, anymore than they’d ever dream of sending their children to a state school the problem has become both entrenched and increasingly intractable.

  3. The Conservatives are not attempting to exempt the NHS from TTIP, and they are rapidly outsourcing services to private health companies.

    The sheer front that he has in mentioning his own experience with the NHS, despicably exploiting his own son’s death to try and appear empathic with the public really takes the biscuit. I do not feel that it is exaggerating to call this sociopathic. Either that or he has never read the history of the the past century when the poor died for the need of a doctor.

  4. Sandra Crawford:

    I had momentarily completely and conveniently forgotten about the tragic death of Cameron’s disabled son; which I have occasionally speculated might have contributed to his clear animus against the NHS, (it’s sometimes called, psychological displacement,) so you make a good and valid point.

    But your point about TIPP is the real killer, TIPP will basically completely abolish accountable public services as we know them completely, (including education and the NHS,) and force the government to put them all out tender to exactly same companies, (so frequently and loudly condemned here,) and organisations that have already been so conspicuous for their dishonesty and incompetence.

    As you rightly say neither Cameron or Milliband are even acknowledging the impact of the TIPP arrangements.

    But if you want some idea of the economic and social carnage this will wreak, look at the state of the Caribbean or to South America.

  5. I would like to know where the UK would be if we leave the EU under Mr Cameron’s auspice, would we still be in TTIP? One wonders if he has thought this through.

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