Skip to main content

Broken pledges and the crisis in the NHS

There was the fanfare, not exactly trumpets, but soothing, calming, reassuring...reassuring. The date is Monday January 4th 2010. A week is a long time in politics, three years is an age, so we may not remember; and if we do we may be inclined to ask so what, who believed them anyway?

It was the day Mr Cameron, launched the Tory party's draft manifesto for the NHS. It was that speech in which the then Leader of the Opposition pledged there would be no top down reorganisation of the NHS. It  was also a speech in which he said the Tories would not make the sick pay for the debt crisis.

Three years on we have major top down reorganisation, £20 billion cuts in NHS funding through 'efficiency savings' which all health bodies including the BMA say have pushed the NHS to a crisis point. NHS England inform us that unless funding levels are increased the NHS in England is heading for a shortfall of £30 billion by 2020. That translates into real cuts that will affect the ability of the NHS to meet patients needs.

In making his pledge David Cameron said that "With the Conservatives there will be no more of the tiresome, meddlesome, top-down re-structures that have dominated the last decade of the NHS." This pledge was reiterated as part of the Coalition agreement.  The Liberal Democrats and the Tories have reneged on this pledge; they have failed to listen to the concerns of leading bodies representing health care professionals; they have failed to listen to the concerns of patient bodies.

Privatised provision has created a problem for commissioning bodies with many serving on the new bodies being potentially compromised through pecuniary interest. This problem is of great concern to the doctors organisation the British Medical Association. The potential for diverting funds from 'in-house' services provided by the NHS is also a concern leading to more private provision as the in-house service is allowed to deteriorate. 

It is no surprise that coupled with creeping privatisation of provision the issue of payment at the point of delivery is brought into question for initially some services. The divisive question is raised, why should the taxpayer pay for your therapy, hearing aids, or whatever it is? It is the same kind of divisive question applied to the changes in welfare provision. The attack on universal benefits turns to an attack on universal health care provision. Let's not say we cannot heed the warning signs. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hummingbird exposure to pesticides

Many have responded to the campaigns to stop the use of pesticides killing bees.  Bees are not the only animals affected.

Hummingbirds are noted as a species of conservation concern by Partners in Flight, and their populations are estimated to have declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014.



New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

To measure exposure to pesticides in these avian pollinators, investigators made novel use of cloacal fluid and fecal pellets from hummingbirds living near blueberry fields in British Columbia. They also collected bumble bees native to Canada, and their pollen, and blueberry leaves and flowers from within conventionally sprayed and organic blueberry farms.

The researchers detected pesticides and related compounds in cloacal fluid and fecal pellets of hummingbirds revealing…

Bad trade kills the planet.

One problem with the financial crisis of 2008/9 is that it focused attention on the banking system as if it could be separated from global economics.  It fostered the notion that all that was needed was to reform the banks and all would be well.  The underlying assumption was and is that global economics didn't and doesn't need fixing.  Everything works well but for the financial system.  Let's all keep calm and carry on.

Yet, the focus on a bad banking system hides an underlying economic malaise,  The economy depended on banks lending, and growth was predicated on debt, debt and more debt.  This was not simply a problem of the banking system.  It was, and remains a problem arising from the mythology of economic growth.

Politicians have long fostered the mythology of growth.  Growth became a  mantra.  Growth is good.  Good is growth.  Let's grow! Growth as and is presented as a miraculous cure.

Let's call this the first neoliberal myth.  The second neoliberal myth…

Brexit won't save the planet

Brexit isn't an ideal. It might break the cosy economic and political illusion that all growth and trade is good. But there is little thinking behind it. It won't lead to better trade. It won't save our planet.



No plan for Brexit The UK is  now just months away from leaving the European Union, yet still the government has no plan for Brexit. Sector after sector of British society are registering their concerns about the consequences of a 'no deal' Brexit.  The country is in the dark about what the future might hold.  Key issues remain unresolved, yet it is as if it doesn't matter.   Brexit, remember, means Brexit!  
Whether we are for or against Brexit we should be concerned that the government can't agree on what kind of deal they want with our biggest trading partner - the European Union.  
There is no idealism behind Brexit, and no vision for the future.  Instead, there is a blind hope that it will be 'alright on the night'.  That somehow a…