The NHS is an awful institution. Management experts from around the world have analysed it and said that the only solution is to get rid of it and start again. It was created by an Attlee government who couldn’t run a bath and runs along Marxist lines. There is no clear philosophy about who it exists for. Certainly not the patients. It is so bad that no other country in the world has been stupid enough to copy it. Most first world countries do it far better, most notably Holland and New Zealand. Yet it is so monolithic that we are stuck with it. It costs over £309 million every day of the year to run and is the largest organisation of any kind in Europe.
One thing is very, very clear. The NHS is utterly unsafe when run by Labour governments.
- Civil servants and Labour politicians have mostly never worked in the real world or had a proper job. They should not be trusted to negotiate contracts. So Labour’s 2003 GP contract was an immense disaster, effectively doubling GP pay for far less work. Making an immense hole in NHS finances.
- My sister and brother in law were GPs. I know from staying with them over the years that they provided 24/7 care in the patient’s homes. Labour changed this to a 9 to 5, 5 days a week office job, leaving many patients with no option but to use A&E, throwing a huge burden on hospitals.
- To try and control the NHS the Labour party employed armies of managers (so our taxes were spent on suits instead of hips) who instituted an immense system of targets. So the NHS then existed to create millions of numbers instead of to care for patients. This result in very many disasters and thousands of deaths. 1,200 of these at Mid Staffs alone, but very many other hospitals fell into this scandalous trap. They were supposed to care for people, not kill them. Labour Health Secretaries were asked 81 times for an inquiry into Mid Staffs and they refused every time.
- Before Labour lost the 2010 General Election Alistair Darling was planning to cut NHS spending by 5%, around £5 billion pounds, that is £13 million a day! When the Conservatives came to power they ring fenced NHS spending, then increased it, despite Gordon Brown’s immense recession.
- As noted before, Labour cannot be trusted to run anything. With the NHS they tried to implement a IT system, against best advice, when they did not know what they were doing.The inevitable disaster cost £12bn, that is £12,000,000,000.With nothing to show for it. This would have paid for 60,000 nurses for a decade.
- Gordon Brown discovered Private Finance Initiatives (PFI). With this he could spend immense amounts of money on needless vanity projects without having to pay for them and without them showing on the national debt. So he bought lots of shiny new hospitals (plus some other things). But PFI is an incredibly expensive way to do anything, 12 times more expensive than conventional financing, and now the NHS is being crippled by their need to fund Gordon Brown’s profligacy. £54.7bn was borrowed under PFI, mostly for hospitals, but the total cost to the taxpayer will be £301bn. Payments will peak at £10.1bn a year. Utterly staggering figures and amazing incompetence.
- Of course Labour IS running a NHS in Britain today, that is the one in Wales, where they are in power. And it is a complete train crash, as you might expect. Patients are being kept for hours (and are dying) in parked ambulances because there is no hospital room for them. Waiting lists have become astronomical, 42% of patients in Wales wait six weeks to be seen compared with just 1.8% in England. And death rates have shot up, just as they did at Mid Staffs. You really don’t want to be ill in Labour controlled Wales and if Labour get control of the English NHS then you won’t want to be ill here. And remember that in the last three years the Welsh government has spent more than £1.5 million of taxpayers money on NHS staff doing trade union activities, instead of caring for people.
As you can see from the above anyone who could ever need to use the NHS would be utterly mad to ever consider voting Labour. They are the party who damage patients most. Now let’s look at the Conservative NHS successes:
- Bringing in high quality external management (not privatisation, like the lefties claim). Profit is the reward for looking after customers. So it is brilliant that the NHS uses profit as the mechanic to ensure the NHS is run in the best possible way for patients. Just look at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Just over two years ago this was a “financial and clinical basket case”, the Royal College of Surgeons called it “dysfunctional”. One of the worst hospital’s in Britain as a result of Labour’s stupid policies. Then external, profit making, management was brought in and very rapidly Hinchingbrooke became one of the best performing hospitals in Britain. A remarkable and rapid turnaround. The Conservative policy of contracting out management is a winner for patients when it is done properly. And remember that GPs have always been privately employed. (Hinchingbrooke now torpedoed by the left).
- In 2010 the UK had amongst the lowest cancer survival rates in Western Europe.The Conservatives set up the cancer drugs fund, also they transformed cancer diagnosis so the NHS now tests 1,000 more people for cancer every single day. So far during this parliament the NHS has treated nearly three quarters of a million more people for cancer than during the whole of the last one. An incredible success story.
- In 2010 fewer than half of those with dementia got a diagnosis, meaning many missed out on vital medicine or support for their family. The Conservative NHS has now diagnosed an extra 80,000 people. The Prime Minister hosted a G8 summit to get the drug companies to do more to find a cure. And the NHS is working with the Alzheimers Society to enroll one million dementia friends to tackle stigma, with half a million signed up so far.
- With A&E the NHS has halved the time people wait to be assessed and are treating nearly 2,000 more people every day within the four hour target compared to 2010.
- In our world financial crisis Italy cut health spending by 3%, Greece by 14%, Portugal by 17% and Labour was planning a 5% cut for our NHS. Instead the Conservatives ring fenced spending, then increased it. NHS funding rose 0.3% in 2011/12 and 0.8% in 2012/13, then by a further by £2.7bn in 2013-14. In real terms (after inflation) the Conservatives are now spending 3.6% more. That is 8.6% more than Labour was planning to spend.
- The number of managers and senior managers has declined in each of the past four years and stood at 36,360 in 2013, the lowest total since 2003.
- Over the past three years the number of patients waiting longer than a year for treatment has declined from 20,097 in September 2011 to just 362 in September 2014.
- The Conservatives have funded 6,500 extra doctors and 3,300 more nurses.
- The creation of NHS England, their task is the budgeting, planning, delivery and day-to-day operation of the commissioning side of the NHS using a powerful chief executive, good management practices and minimum political interference.
As you can see the Conservatives have been magnificent and have turned around a NHS that was failing in so many ways. It is not perfect yet (it never will be) and the Conservatives have plans in place for even more improvements after they win the next election. But the biggest factor for the NHS is affording it, which means a successful economy. And everyone in Britain knows that the Conservatives are by far the best at economic management.
Labour make empty promises. But we know from the fact that they already have plans to spend their Mansion Tax several times over that these have no credibility whatsoever. We do know, however, that they have failed badly with the NHS in the past and that they will screw up the economy, so that they won’t have the money. And that in Andy Burnham they have a shadow Health Secretary who is a proven failure at the job.
George Osborne has announced £2 billion of extra funds for the health service from April next year, this is an above inflation increase in the annual NHS budget of 1.5 per cent. Osborne says that this is a “down payment” on NHS England plans calling for an extra £8bn a year above inflation by 2020, he has found the money for the increase from budget surpluses across Whitehall departments. This means that the Conservatives are now spending more than 10% more on the NHS than Labour were planning. In a sad Pavlovian reaction Ed Balls promised an extra £2.5 billion on top of this, without saying where the money would come from or why he would pay more than NHS England are asking for. Labour’s financial planning and fiscal incontinence really are an utter joke.