So the Tories have come clean (Star Sept 10th p7). We can expect a “significantly reduced rate of expenditure.” “NHS services everywhere will have to tighten their belts.”
Unfortunately it is not the NHS that will be tightening its belt it is patients who will go without proper care. Andrew Lansley may be right to point out that increased spending alone will not guarantee improvements, but we can be certain that cutting expenditure will damage care.
He is wrong, however, to imply that there have not been improvements in the NHS in the last 12 years. We should acknowledge that the increased spending on the NHS has brought about improvements: improvements in waiting times, improvements in survival following heart attacks and cancer. The tragedy of the last twelve years is that constant reorganisation has damaged staff morale and wasted a small fortune. It is estimated that cost of the government’s many and varied NHS privatisation schemes have cost £20bn. Each year £350m is wasted on management consultants in the NHS.
What we need is a government committed to the NHS, a public, integrated coordinated National Health Service. We will not get good value, or good service from a series of private providers who believe in competition not cooperation and whose interest is profit not patient-care.
Dr Charles West
Parliamentary Candidate: Shrewsbury and Atcham Liberal Democrats