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Revealed: Tories siphoning NHS money to Treasury

by Richard Blogger     February 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

Here are two interesting quotes taken from the opposition day debate on the NHS on 16th January 2012.

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley):We delivered £4.3 billion of cost improvement in the NHS in the last financial year. We are aiming to do more this year. We delivered £2.5 billion, according to the deputy chief executive of the NHS, in the first two quarters.

Every penny saved by reducing costs in the NHS is available to be reinvested in the NHS.

Andrew Lansley is known for his absolutist language, it is not “most of the savings” it is “every penny saved”. Similarly, the then Minister of State Simon Burns uses bullish language, but in this case, he adds some more details to Lansley’s claim:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr Simon Burns): Any and all money made by the NHS is returned straight into care, not to the Treasury.

This is equally absolutist (“any and all money”), but is also mentions the villain that scares people: the Treasury.

However, both are wrong.

Over the last financial year the NHS underspent by £1.7bn and the Treasury clawed back £1.4bn of that. Indeed, HSJ (paywalled) say that:

The spokesman also confirmed that the DH recorded a £1.9bn underspend in 2010-11 – but made no use in that year of the “budget exchange” scheme which allows government departments to carry over some unspent funds for use in future years. This means at least £2.9bn of DH funding has been clawed back by the Treasury in the past two years. This is despite the NHS facing a funding settlement for 2011-12 to 2014-15 that is likely to mean its “tightest four-year period in the last 50 years”, according to think tanks the Nuffield Trust and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

So over two years almost £3bn of NHS money has been clawed back by the Treasury for deficit reduction.

This is not what Lansley and Burns were suggesting.

Do the Libdems really want to penalise ‘undeserving patients’?

by Richard Blogger     September 17, 2012 at 9:30 am

Joe Farrington-Douglas tweeted last week an article on Lib Dem Voice posted at the time that Norman Lamb  took over the Lib Dem health brief.

Lamb wrote a paper about his thoughts and followed up with interviews with newspapers. In particular Lamb said:

If you get rat-arsed on a Friday night and get taken to A&E where you are foul and abusive to staff, is it right for the taxpayers to fund your life-saving treatment?

The implication being that it isn’t and we shouldn’t and hence there should be a charge for A&E in these circumstances.

The Guardian said:

He called for wide public debate on whether the community should pay for the excesses of the individual. There was a strong case for charging drunks for stomach pumps or treatment of injuries, and pubs and clubs should also be made to contribute if their complicity could be proven.

This is not only wrong, but it is very unliberal.

Lamb was suggesting that we create a concept of deserving patient and undeserving patient. Under Lamb’s plan the undeserving patient has to pay for their treatment. Where does it stop? Do we charge smokers for their treatment? Do we charge drunk drivers for the injuries they receive, or the injuries they cause?

What happens if someone is foul and abusive but sober? Is Lamb concerned with people’s behaviour, or their condition? If a person does something illegal (they are foul and abusive to A&E staff) then the legal system can be used: they will be punished for their behaviour.

But what if they are drunk but polite, do those drunks get a discount, or get the treatment free? Who decides what is foul or abusive, will there be national standards or will some areas be allowed to be more sensitive? What if the patient has mental health issues which is the cause of the abusive behaviour and is unrelated to the alcohol they consumed?

The whole idea was poorly thought out.

It didn’t matter that this policy was unworkable because Lamb wanted to get a different message out to the public. The message came straight out of the Lib Dem’s Orange Book. Lamb wants to deliberately break the cherished free-at-the-point-of-delivery principle of the NHS.

Once you start charging for treatment, regardless of the reason, that principle has been broken and charges will spread throughout the NHS. Imposing charges will encourage the development of an insurance market. Insurance companies will produce products so that you pay a small premium every month (say, for the cost of 5 pints) and the insurance company will pay your A&E bill if you get injured when rat-arsed.

Such ill-thought-out policies are fine for a spokesperson for a party that will never be elected, but these were the policies of Norman Lamb, who was just appointed Minister of State in the Department of Health. It is a cause for concern for health policies in the future.

Emails: Lansley’s own advisers said the NHS Bill would increase bureaucracy

by Richard Blogger     September 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

Remember that we were promised before the last election that a Conservative government would bring in the post-bureaucratic age?

Well, there is little evidence that is what we have got, and there is a lot of evidence that we are going in the opposite direction: getting more bureaucratic.

For example, the botched NHS reforms have created two new levels of bureaucracy.
continue reading… »

How the predicted cuts to social care are taking place

by Richard Blogger     May 2, 2012 at 11:01 am

Whenever Labour try to land a blow on Cameron over NHS funding, he always brings out the tired and incorrect statement that “we have protected the NHS budget; but Labour would have cut it”.

This is incorrect, but sadly Labour have failed to even both to refute it. I have given the details why this is incorrect on my NHS Future site.

The “evidence” for the Tory assertion comes from June 2010.
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Five ways you can still protect the NHS after the Bill

by Richard Blogger     March 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

The Health and Social Care Bill has almost passed. There will be quite a few government MPs who will rue this day since every possible ill in the NHS will now be pinned on them for passing a Bill that no one wanted.

Protecting our NHS is not achieved through marches or clicktivism (e-petitions or the like) it can only be carried out through getting involved.

Here are five ways you can do that:
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How Lansley re-politicised the NHS and made life harder for Tories

by Richard Blogger     February 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

Various commentators have pointed out how the NHS has re-toxified the Tory brand. But Andrew Lansley has done something worse – he has re-politicised the NHS.

One of the most significant achievements of New Labour was the creation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The fag-end of the Major government was dogged by postcode lottery scandals, and it was so long ago that people seem to forget what a huge scandal it was.

A day didn’t pass without something in the Press about someone complaining that they could not get treatment in their area that was available in another area.
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How the growing intake of private patients will change the NHS

by Richard Blogger     December 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

Yesterday the government said it was planning to let NHS trusts raise half of income from private healthcare.

There are a few important points to keep in mind regarding this accouncement.

1. Some private income is useful
The private patient income (PPI) cap was imposed to limit the private income of NHS trusts. The cap includes the income from actual physical, in-the-flesh, patients, but it also includes income from other services like providing pathology or income from intellectual property.
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How the BBC mangled Diabetes statistics to lay blame on the NHS

by Richard Blogger     December 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

There is something a bit odd about the shock news released today that people who have a serious (but controllable) medical condition are not expected to live as long as people without it.

The BBC are reporting the news as if no one has ever been aware of it, but I came to the conclusion a year ago that the BBC have an agenda to broadcast as many articles as possible that puts the NHS in a poor light.

Let’s look at what the BBC are saying.
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Cameron is spending less on the NHS than even Thatcher would have

by Richard Blogger     October 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

The government keeps telling us that they will deliver real terms increases in the NHS budget, but the evidence proves otherwise. Yesterday The Independent says that:

NHS total expenditure [fell] from £102.8bn in 2009-10 to £102.0bn in 2010-11 (in 2010-11 prices, rounded to nearest £0.1bn) – a real terms fall of 0.7 per cent.

Further, the House of Commons Library says net NHS Expenditure in 2009-10 (in 2010-11 prices) was £103.2bn and in 2010-11 the expenditure was £102.0bn – a real terms decrease of -1.1%.
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Is Norwich South a barometer for political change in England?

by Richard Blogger     October 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

I think Norwich South shows what went wrong with Labour over their three terms of office.

A huge 14,000 majority in 1997 has shrunk so much that the Labour candidate lost at the 2010 election by 310 votes.

Why was this the case?
continue reading… »

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