As porkies go, this is a whopper. That ‘extra’ £10billion Mark Garnier proclaims is heading the NHS’s way has even seen the Tory Chair of the Parliamentary Committee claim the £10billion figure is ‘misleading’. Those of us who use and value the NHS know something is deeply amiss with it and can probably agree it needs more money. The truth is it won’t be getting it any time soon from the Tory Government.
Locally, we have seen the NHS have to save £2.6million in mental health care by closing Harvington Ward at Kidderminster Hospital. Surely it could stay open if the Tories are pumping more money into it? The answer is no, because there is no ‘new’ money and the Tory Health & Social Care Act also made CCG’s responsible for commissioning, thus opening the door to more privatisation on the illusion of ‘saving money’ – or for the cynics out there, handing contracts to large private companies like Virgin who recently got a £700 million contract in the South West. So now, your money, is helping large corporations make vast profits from treating patients – money that could be better spent on our NHS services.
That £10billion figure, once you account for inflation, NHS deficits which are at an all time high thanks to cuts, the fact that some of it is robbing Peter to pay Paul by taking it from ‘preventative care’ NHS budgets by cutting them, suddenly gets whittled down to around £4.5billion. Then, thanks to the massive cuts to Social Care to the tune of £4.6billion since 2010 with a projected shortfall still of £4billon come 2020, it actually produces a negative figure, and probably then some, because more of us are attending A&E because preventative and social services have disappeared. Worse still, when you get to A&E, the NHS can’t attract enough Doctors and Nurses because resources are stretched so thin, meaning Trusts go further into deficit spending a fortune on agency staff just to keep services running. You’ve probably read that Worcestershire Acute Trust is in a financial and care crisis? They have a cuts programme ongoing and the Government are about to implement another such programme, called ‘sustainability and transformation’ which is a clever way of saying more ‘cuts’. Of course, they’ll dress it up as something meaningful, consult you, then ignore you like always happens.
If you think that’s it, it isn’t, the Government have said councils can raise council tax by 2% to spend on social care in order to try and offset the council social care cuts in things like older people services and homecare. So, you’ll pay more for less, be blaming the council and not the Government responsible, and no doubt Mark and his colleagues will go on singing like canaries about how rosy things all are.
Smoke and mirrors sums it up nicely.
Wyre Forest Labour Party