Downing Street are in a panic about the state of the NHS. They chose to have an election in December and now they are worried about a winter health crisis. There are clear signs in our health system that the almost decade-long underfunding is reducing the service to a point at which there are serious consequences for patients everywhere.
The Observer is reporting this morning that Boris Johnson has been holding regular meetings at No 10 with the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, as evidence mounts of lengthening delays in treatment caused by shortages of doctors and nurses.
Health Minister Mike Hancock has been seeing Stevens every week, on Monday mornings, to assess how to prevent a deterioration in waiting times at hospitals and GP surgeries. The Observer says that
No. 10, in an unprecedented move, has been planning to set up its own NHS “operations unit” as evidence mounts of lack of capacity and increasing waits for patients at A&E departments and on hospital trolleys.
These panic actions will not work. You cannot turn round the NHS is 6 weeks, suffering as it is from years of cuts and the disastrous top-down restructuring which was imposed by the Tory/Lib coalition.
Yesterday the British Medical Association issued a highly critical statement, saying it should not take a general election to prompt the Government to act. It also warned that the NHS was now in a “perpetual state of crisis”.
Only a bunch of fools, whose wealth means they can afford to use private medicine, could not have known that the NHS is in crisis.
It’s been obvious from the start of these ten wasted Tory years, what would happen. In the single year after the Tories took office with help from the Lib Dems in 2010 the satisfaction rate plummeted.
Satisfaction rates with our health service under Labour were at record highs. But they fell from 70% to 58% in a single year, as shown in the annual survey produced by the independent and respected Kings Fund.
By 2018, satisfaction rates with the health service fell by a further 3 percentage points to 53 per cent, its lowest level in the Conservative decade and 16 percentage points below its historical peak of 70 per cent in 2010.
The continued fall in satisfaction came despite repeated rhetoric from Government that there was no risk to the Health Service. But their assurances fly in the face of reality.
The Kings Fund analysis also reveals that public satisfaction with general practice has declined over the past decade. In 2018, it remained at its lowest level since the survey began in 1983 (63 per cent). Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents reported being dissatisfied with their GP service – double the level of dissatisfaction as recorded in 2009, Labour’slast full year in office.
We at Scarlet Standard could not put it more clearly if we tried than Health Service BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul.
Speaking about the current critical condition of our health service he said: “Under this Government’s watch, patients and staff working in the NHS have endured winter after winter of overcrowded emergency departments, long delays and pitifully low staffing levels. It should not take an election to take stock of just how bad the situation has become. Staff are already coming under extreme pressure, trolley waits are at a worryingly high level, A&E targets are not being met and as such, the BMA predicts that the NHS is hurtling towards an unprecedented crisis this winter.”
Scarlet Standard says the Tories have a long term plan to break the NHS. Their cuts are designed to build up to an American health pattern which benefits only the rich.
They want the service to become so bad that the wealthier people opt-out, pay large insurance premiums, and get privileged access to private medicine.
And they want the NHS itself increasingly to rely on private wards in NHS hospitals to generate additional money to make up for the cuts.
It is not difficult to understand why the Tories hate the NHS. It is because our socialised health system displays every single day a different set of values to those of Tory Britain.
It is not the size of your wallet which gives you priority treatment in Britain. It’s the scale of your health need.
We remember what Nye Bevan said ‘There will be an NHS as long as there are people prepared to fight for it’
The fight is now, it is ours to win.
Press Watch is a look at the day's news by Labour MPs.