By now we are well aware that Cameron is bent on destroying the social fabric of our society in favour for a system based on greed, egotism, and making money for the rich.
Part of his strategy is the destruction of the NHS as well as social care so the functions they perform (and once performed) can be farmed out to his cronies in private companies (think Atos, Capita, Serco, and so on) on the cheap.
But Cameron’s strategy (or the strategy of whoever is controlling the puppet) is not supported by all members of his party, and Cameron has been warned that unless spending is increased the NHS will collapse within five years.
What Cameron seems to have ignored is that alterations provided by social care will have a direct influence on the NHS, because the two are very closely linked.
Cuts in the social care budget mean that many people who find themselves in hospital have nowhere to go to on discharge, or that social services are unable to put an appropriate care package in place – meaning the person can not be discharged. A situation is created where people are occupying beds that could be used for other patients needing treatment – often referred to as ‘bed-blocking’.
In the past week, the NHS has seen a record number of occupied beds and attributed this to people remaining in hospital unnecessarily because social care are unable to provide people with the support they need.
Although Cameron and his cronies ‘ring-fenced’ (protected) the health service budget from cuts, and increased spending in-line with inflation, it is not enough to enable the NHS to cope with the knock-on effects of drastic spending cuts in other areas of social care.
Stephen Dorrell, a former Conservative health secretary, Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP, and Paul Burstow, a former coalition health minister, say that with the economy growing the NHS must receive a real terms increase in spending over the next five years if it is to function properly.
Dorrell and Wollaston, elected this month as chair of the Commons health committee, replacing Dorrell, said the policy could not continue. Paul Burstow, a Liberal Democrat health minister in the first two years of the coalition government, said he believed the NHS needed an extra £15bn from the Treasury over the next five years “if you don’t want the system to collapse during the course of the next parliament”.
The grim analysis is backed by some of the country’s top health experts. Writing in this newspaper, Professor Chris Ham, chief executive of the health thinktank, the King’s Fund, and a former Downing Street adviser, raises the spectre of another major NHS disaster on the scale of the Mid Staffordshire scandal if more money is not found to relieve the pressures on services.
He says the danger is that “the quality of patient care will be compromised by not having enough doctors and nurses on the wards and in surgeries and clinics. The well-publicised failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation were caused by precisely this kind of cost cutting, with tragic consequences for the families concerned.”
Dorrell, who claimed that the challenge to make £30bn efficiency savings to redistribute around the NHS had failed, said he would be ashamed if the NHS budget did not receive a boost in income at a time when the economy was growing. “I am in favour of the government not denying what 5,000 years of history tells us is true, which is that every time a society gets richer it spends a rising share of its income on looking after the sick and the vulnerable,” he said.
The NHS is looking likely to be a key battleground at the general election and Labour will seek to keep it at the forefront of the public mind in the coming months. This week it will use a private member’s bill to lay out how it would repeal the coalition government’s controversial health and social care act, which ushered in greater private sector involvement in the NHS.
The bill, proposed by Clive Efford MP, would rewrite the rules that force market tendering of services. It will be debated in the Commons in November and Labour candidates in marginal seats will call on Tory and Lib Dem incumbents to back the bill, while highlighting examples of how current rules waste money and fragment care.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham claimed the vote on the bill would “without doubt be the defining moment of what remains of this parliament”. He added: “Cameron’s biggest mistake by far is his decision to break the coalition agreement promise of ‘no top-down reorganisation of the NHS’.”
Source: The Guardian
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