Don’t let them forget it

primary_care_training_dont_let_them

Amid the Easter brouhaha over the promises of extra funding for the NHS, here are some factoids you may like to cut out and stick on the fridge door:

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  • Since it was formed, in 1948, up to 2010, more or less, the NHS has had an annual funding uplift of around 4%pa.
  • Since 1948 the number of beds has halved and the number of patients treated, doubled.
  • In the spending window 2010 to 2020 the NHS funding increase is just under 2%pa.
  • In the last ten years bed stays have halved.
  • The top 10 EU countries health-spend is 10.4% of GDP.  We are 9.8%.
  • If we matched EU average spending we would have about £23bn more than current spending plans.
  • Performance targets have been dumped; the NHS can no longer deliver them... it's too busy... social care is knackered.
  • A 1p hike in income tax generates about £5bn.

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You don't have to be a policy wonk to work this lot out...  

The NHS is very efficient, treating more people than it's funded for.  You can sort this mess by increasing income-tax; secure the future by getting back to the spending trajectory pre-2010.

  • No cross-party committee required.  
  • No strategic-sustainability-hoopla needed. 
  • No think-tanks, conferences, summits or round-tables. 

For The Maymite and Tories, to portray themselves as the NHS friendly, super-saviours of health services is... rich.  Their decisions, indecisions and myopic focus on the deficit, has run the NHS into the ground.

I understand the preoccupation with the economy, the uncertainty over Brexit and the fear of a hard-landing.  The need for caution.  But...  

...what hacks me off, beyond belief, is the manipulation of the NHS 70th, the headline grabbing and the likes of Chris Ham, at the King's Fund, describing a flaky political promise as;

'... a big moment, reminiscent of Tony Blair's promise to increase funding in 2000...'  

Really... as I recall it, Blair's promise came after the Tories had, on a previous occasion, run the NHS into the ground... a familiar tale.  Getting funding in-line with the European average was an imperative then and is an imperative now.

We've fallen behind countries who have struggled through the travails of a world banking crisis and its consequences.  They've just handled it better.

The political narrative must change because...  

Nurturing the public's health is an investment in the nation and its success.  It is not a burden.  The burden comes as the cost of neglecting it.

A healthy economy delivers a healthy NHS?  No!  

A healthy NHS delivers a healthy nation... They deliver the economy.

The NHS is vital to the economy.  Vital for workers to get over their accidents and illnesses... back to work.  Crucial to the nation that its next generation is born safely; where families are not distracted by worrying that their elders will be abandoned in a threadbare care system.

We must know our hosptials are safely-staffed by well-trained people.

The NHS is the engine-room for health, wellbeing and the wealth of the nation.

We must know an episode in hospital presents no greater risk than being at home.  Access, trouble-free.  Discharge timely and safe.

It's government's job to keep the nation safe, not manipulate services from failure to a crescendo of celebration because it suits the electoral timetable. 

The NHS is on its knees, the gains of the Labour years, when waiting lists had all but gone and services safely staffed... disappeared.  By the confluence of global economic forces, ineptitude and neglect it is the worst I have seen it in years and likely to continue on through the summer.

It has collapsed from being a world-leader in treatment timely-ness, to exhaustion, where people can't wait to retire, new people reluctant to join, overseas colleagues all but abandoned us and where people will die before their turn comes for a new lease of life and a plastic hip.

A place where A&E's look third world.  Where people die waiting for an ambulance and our citizens, whose work and lives have built this nation, made to feel an encumbrance... shoved into care homes that none of us would spend a weekend in.

Like it or not, all this has happened on the watch of one party.  There is no one else to blame.  It is the indisputable, stripped-pine, truth and fact; it is the decisions of the Conservative Government that have reduced our NHS to it's knees.

However much they plan to bribe us... never forget the people who have died, waiting impossibly long and the people whose careers have been ruined by trying to deliver the impossible.

The Tories are no saviours, no deliverers, no liberators.  They are to blame and don't let them forget it. 

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roy.lilley@nhsmanagers.net 

Know something I don't - email me in confidence.

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Reproduced at TrainingPrimaryCare.com by kind permission of Roy Lilley.