The newspapers are reporting that the next elected UK government in 2015 will have to financially save the NHS as so many Health Service Trusts are stuffed on their budgets pushing the majority into deficit next year (65 already there!) – a crisis that could affect even it’s mortality . [A hundred billion pound annual budget heading for a thirty billion shortfall over the next half decade].
The news and prediction comes from a so called leading ‘Think Tank’ the ‘Kings Fund’. [it isn’t clear to most of us, why so much media credence is given to these Think Tanks’ outpourings? Surely they are just strange organisations setup by any tom dick or harry, funded by unsuspected if not suspect means, with an uncertain agenda , and certainly no discernable accountability – there are at least 125 of them in the UK? Perhaps we should simply take their proclamations with a large dose of salt?]
That being said, let us look at the prospects if the Kings Fund is right about our NHS. Such an investment they imply is needed won’t happen will it? it is deemed to be a significant commitment and our economy is in the cacky is it, and still will be by all accounts by next year’s election (despite George Osborne’s promise of 5 year Plan A). Not if it’s the Conservatives surely? Under Tory Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher & John Major, the NHS was brought to its knees between 1979 & 1997 – only to be saved by the following PM Tony Blair’s administration at enormous expense (including costly and massive recruitment of foreign doctors and nurses).
For the NHS its deja vu and groundhog day all rolled into one now. The Tories also have history don’t they? Incapacitate things, privatise things, destroy things – our Steel Industry, our Railways, our Coalmines, our Waterworks, our Car Manufacturers, our Postal Services, and our Energy Production & Distribution – to name some big ones. Quote “The NHS is safe in our hands” – Thatcher in 1983/Cameron in 2006. So will the Conservatives if they get re-elected let the situation deteriorate further and achieve their long term goal of privatisation? If you think otherwise – Dream On!
What about Labour if they get in? Are they ready for it – we doubt it. They are already committed to following the Tories budget plans (in an attempt to establish their fiscal prudence – necessary because in the past four years they have totally failed to counter the allegation that they screwed-up the British (and World?) economy and that it wasn’t the International Bankers!). Also, they have other things to deal with to recover from recent and long standing Conservative policies – with no money to pay for anything because Britain’s economy has flat-lined for most of the time of the present government.
Perhaps our only hope is that UKIP and Nigel Farage waltz away with the European elections this summer, hold massive political rallies in all major cities in the UK next year, and trounce all comers in the next General Election (revolution and street rioting is not our forte in Britain you see) – then we can leave the European Union and use the immense membership fee to keep the NHS going? Ah well, even good dreams end when we wake-up don’t they?
[The King’s Fund is a charitable foundation in England which seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved, and organises conferences plus other events; and uses an old endowment fund and important benefactors for monies, but also since 1997, have combined with GlaxoSmithKline, a major player in the drugs field, to fund awards]