I have been sent these Lib-Dem ‘newspapers’ through the post recently and feel it is important to explain why I believe them to be nothing more than propaganda. All the political parties are now in electioneering mode and it is clear that they all recognise the importance of the NHS in voters’ minds. But, we must always do a reality check with everything they say if we do truly care abut the NHS. The survival of our precious health care service depends entirely on us electing a poltical party that recognises that healthcare provision must put the population’s needs first.
So unsurprisingly the LIb-Dems have chosen to use the NHS as a campaign tool and made the statement that it is not safe in the hands of the Tories or Corbyn’s Labour Party. I would argue that it is certainly not safe in the hands of Lib-Dems.
The whole destruction of the NHS has been going on for many years and Labour does not have an entirely clean slate on protecting the NHS. But the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 was when we saw the destruction really ramped up a gear. This was the biggest betrayel of the voter’s trust we have seen for a long time. We were promised by Cameron in 2010 that: “There would be no more top-down reorganisation of the NHS that gets in the way of patient care.” We were also promised that he would: “Cut the deficit and not the NHS.” He did neither.
The Lib-Dem decision to go into Coalition with the Tories in 2010 placed our NHS at risk. It seems now they are saying they would do the same again and have already ruled out going into Coalition with Corbyn.
But during the last Coalition it was only because they had the support of all but one of the Lib-Dem MPs that the HSCA 2012 was finally brought into law. The Act resulted in the biggest top-down reorgainsation of the NHS and included the aim of cutting £20bn from the annual NHS spend.
By 2015 the NHS structure had become increasingly complex, private sector involvement had grown significantly and our Secretary of State for Health no longer had a duty to provide and secure comprehensive healthcare for all.
By 2015, NHS Trusts had collectively accumulated a deficit of £800m. East Sussex Healthcare Trust had gone into deficit within one year of the Act being passed. The NHS spend had increased by 0.8% per year although inflation in healthcare runs at 4% per year. Mental health inpatient beds were cut by 30% across England, we lost about 1/3 of our inpatient beds for mental health here in East Sussex. The 4hr waiting time for A&E was being breached regularly and cuts to social care meant there was a 14% increase in the number of delays in discharge. By 2015, the target to begin treatment within 62 days for 85% of people with a suspected cancer and been missed for the past year.
So the Lib-Dems track record on the NHS doesn’t look that good. But now they are promising to spend more money on the NHS by increasing income tax by 1%. The problem with that is – it is all they are promising.
Money is haemorrhaging out of the NHS now at an incredible rate. This utter waste of finances has to stop if we are to return the NHS to being a healthcare service that is effcient, equitable and free at the point of need for all.
We already provide enough taxes to properly fund the NHS but austerity is meaning our taxes are being given to banks and not invested in public services. Private sector involvement with the NHS is not just at the coalface of delivering healthcare. There is far more private sector involvement behind the scenes in the organisation of the NHS.
We need a NHS that is publicly owned and funded through taxation as this has been shown in numerous studies to be the most effecient and equitable means of delivering heathcare to the nation. Our taxes need to be spent on delivering the healthcare we need and not given to the banks. If we end austerity we can afford the NHS without increasing income tax.
But the Lib-Dems pledge to refuse any sort of Coalition deal with Cobyn could mean they simply allow another austerity driven Coalition Government to take over.
This broken country with escalating poverty, homelessness, mental heath issues and hunger also has a crisis in its schools, its local authorities, its prisons and in social care. Austerity only goes one way – wealth travels upwards – a few will get very wealthy and many will become much poorer. Austerity must stop and our NHS must be returned to being the service that the rest of the world admired and we all loved.
The Lib-Dems will just not give us that.