Month: March 2014

The NHS is not “unsustainable”

You may have noticed a flurry of articles in the press this week as well as comments by politicians that current NHS spending is “unsustainable”. It has appeared everywhere from an Audit Commission statement to right wing hack Isabel Oakeshott pontificating on BBC Question Time. The sudden popularity of this word in connection with the NHS is interesting and not a little worrying. Why should it happen this week? There have been no big changes in funding plans or expenditure and all the news about the economic growth and financial recovery is good.

It is also strange that Jeremy Hunt has chosen to ignore the spending review body and deny health workers a less than inflation pay rise. No sensible senior manager would do this if they cared for their business. The true cost far outweighs the benefit in real terms. He will infuriate more than a million employees for the sake of less than 0.2% of the NHS budget. He could even provoke industrial action – but I suspect this too may be part of the plan.

What if these two events are connected? What if the extravagant use of the “U” word and the deliberate goading of NHS staff is part of a centrally orchestrated plan to make it appear that there is a crisis imminent if not already upon us?  Are we being deliberately softened up for the sell off?

The bottom line is that the NHS is NOT unsustainable. Yes it needs reform but it also needs investment – and we can afford to invest. We currently  get some of the best value health care in terms % of GDP in the western world. It is cheap, efficient, effective and most importantly equitable.

And we can afford to spend more. Just 1 penny in the pound on income tax will fix the problem and allow us to reform, improve and stabilise the NHS. Politicians will find that hard to swallow as we come up to an election but it is the ONLY solution that makes any sense to the man in the street.

If we do not get out politicians to accept that more investment is needed then the alternative is a semi privatised system which will get the government off the hook but which will be less efficient, inequitable and will COST MORE!

Would you rather pay 1 penny in the pound more in income tax or three times that much in private health insurance. I know which I would prefer.

We need to tell out politicians to do what is best for us – not their prejudices about the chance of getting re-elected. And we need to tell them now.

Lobby your MP.

Spread the word on social media.


Steve Smith