Health policy

In 2009-10, Labour’s last year in office, health spending (on NHS England) was £97.6bn. There have been rises each year since, taking the total to a forecast £111.8bn in 2015-16.  So much for the story of endless cuts.

There were cuts in the bureaucracy under the Coalition’s changes made in the first half of the Parliament. These changes were designed to require fewer administrators, freeing more money for clinical staff, and to allow more decisions to be taken locally by senior medics and senior administrators who know and understand their local health service.

The Conservatives are offering to complete their move of the service to a seven day a week service. Progress is being made in this direction. A Conservative government next time would complete the transition. GP services would be available at week-ends as a matter of routine, and there would be Consultant led services working in hospitals seven days a week as well. There is an extra cost for this, which the NHS is spelling out. The government has met their requests for extra money to cover this for 2015-16, and would meet reasonable requests in future years which will be negotiated budget year by budget year in the normal way.

Labour say there is a financial and privatisation threat to the NHS, but I see no evidence of this. Labour has not made an offer of better or more extensive service to the public. They concentrate on matters of internal organisation, and have decided to impose profit controls on any private sector contractor the  NHS might use. It is difficult to see how this might help, as any such contracts are only awarded after competitive tender to ensure a fair price, and are presumably only put out to tender where they think the private sector can do it cheaper and better. The NHS under the coalition is not under any new directive to contract out. In office Labour Ministers allowed substantial contracting out by the NHS presumably to achieve savings and improve performance.

There are two very odd features to Labour making the NHS the centre of its General Election campaign. The first is, the General Election is irrelevant to the NHS in Wales and Scotland, so why is Labour ignoring their vote in those two countries by talking all the time about NHS England? The second is, Labour has nothing new or positive to say about the NHS. It is not offering us a better service, not telling us how it will prevent Stafford style crises in the future, and not telling us if it will start to put patients first with better services. There is no evidence from Wales, where Labour does run the NHS, that it is better – far from  it.

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106 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Clearly it should already be an open all hours service. People do not get ill or injured on just on Mondays to Fridays from 9-5. We know for sure that many more people die when admitted at weekends. Also if you have expensive MRI and other scanners, operating theatres and other capital equipment it makes sense to sweat the equipment as much as possible anyway. This to get more patients through fewer machines thus decreasing the costs per scan substantially.

    The problem with the NHS is that it not run for the benefit of patients at all. It is run for the staff and for reasons of tribal politics. It is mainly a system of rationing, inconveniencing, deterring and delaying patients. The government have already taken your money so the patients are just nuisance to be pushed away so that many have to go privately or die before they get treatment.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      My friends in London and some doctors I know certainly talk of a deteriorating and hugely over loaded service despite the extra money. Clearly people who drink too much, smoke too much, eat too much or take drugs can pay a fee. That way they will have less money to make themselves a patient again on the next weekend.

      My solution is to charge the going rate whenever people can afford pay and reduce taxes so that most can. Encourage people to go privately with tax relief for medical insurance (not extra IPT tax as now), get some competition going. This could take very large numbers out of the NHS and release space for others.

      I would also make people using the NHS agree to a standard fixed compensation terms if things go wrong. They can take addition private insurance if they wanted more cover. This would enable lots of lawyers to get a productive job instead and release lots of NHS staff to do likewise. I would stop all the tattoo removal, vanity surgery, hymen repairs and all the homeopathy & quack treatments the NHS currently fund. Due to all the Prince Charles/BBC type of anti-science thinking and similarly inclined MPs that push this quack medicine/bogus science drivel.

      In short hospital need to be far more like efficient Japanese car factories, diagnostic and servicing depots. People are after all just a type of rather complex machine.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        That is too much like the Conservative Party of 25 years ago.

        Today you have to be inclusive, equal and anything randomly deemed “essential” must be fully funded by the government via tax and borrowing. Nobody except the rich needs to pay directly for anything “essential”, and actually they can pay for everything and everybody until they are no longer rich. If they are English they will continue to pay even then. For historical reasons, food is excluded from this list of essentials, probably to enable the case to be made that people are free to make their own choices, even when they are otherwise totally dependent on taxpayers’ handouts.

        • Hope
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately the World Health Service will not be able to cope with the demand whoever gets in power unless there is a radical change in immigration, predicted to continue at a net rate of 168,000 a year. 168,000 people able to use without making any contribution in addition to those flying in getting tested no flying out.

      • Chris S
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, your’s is an excellent blueprint for the NHS.

        it needs to return to what was intended, a basic service providing excellent care and anyone who wants to can pay extra without being taxed. I don’t see why IVF, tattoo removal or many other services that are not life threatening need to be funded by the State.

        I believe Denmark has an automatic compensation scheme that pays a set figure for medical mistakes and birth defects etc without argument and quickly. Payment is made on the basis of the condition, not blame. No lawyers need be involved. This would have to be a lot cheaper and most important, far better for those unfortunate enough to need it.

        I get very angry whenever I see/hear Miliband and especially Burnham with their holier-than-though attitude to the NHS.

        This is the party and Health Secretary that ignored warnings over Stafford and many other disgraceful incidents. Why doesn’t the Conservative election machine focus on Burnham’s record in office ?

        The Conservatives have a good story on health if only they made the case properly.

        They have put in more money than Labour intended to do and if the re-organisation is genuinely saving money every year, the party should be repeatedly pointing out how many more Nurses and Doctors this alone is funding.

        Given the tragic story of the PM’s son, Ivan, surely nobody would doubt his sincerity on this subject ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the automatic compensation scheme paying a set figure for medical mistakes WITHOUT ARGUMENTS and QUICKLY is a very important point.

          Often the many years of litigation (and endless hospital cover ups) that follow any accidents causes even more pointless distress to the injured parties. Often far more distress than the compensation is actually worth.

          Also the hospital can come clean, apologise, explain fully and with an open fault reporting system hopefully prevent or reduce any further incidents.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps on this (unlike nearly every other issue he speaks on like the EU and IHT tax) Cameron is sincere with his “my priorities in three letters N H S”.

          But the system he is throwing resources at can never be efficient as anyone can see in a days visit to any hospital. The incentives and system is absurd, Free (at the point of rationing) kills competition and provides no real incentives to improve. Indeed the incentives are to delay, inconvenience and deter patients as far as possible.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted March 30, 2015 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        The Japanese also know how to run a health service efficiently, which I have personal experience of in a Tokyo hospital.

        Of course their work ethic and qualities of diligence, attention to detail and ‘customer is king’ approach to all services makes a huge difference compared with UK anyway. But the system is run in a businesslike way. Patients are regarded as valuable customers who can take their medical records elsewhere if the doctor, clinic or hospital they have chosen is unsatisfactory. They pay a small percentage of the actual cost and the exchange of cash as you go out makes everybody aware that things are being properly recorded and controlled.

        They have a saying which sums it all up:
        “There’s nothing more expensive than something that’s free” !

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      More doctors, medical workers, engineers, builders and real scientists and far fewer lawyers, bureaucrats, HR experts, tax advisors, politicians, lobbyists, court workers, state sector workers, employment tribunal workers, tax office workers, EU workers and payments to augment the feckless – these are the solutions to the vast majority of the UK’s and indeed many other country’s problems.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I see from the Telegraph that Cameron:

    Wants new tax cuts for married couples

    It is surely people with children who need the tax cuts whether married or otherwise? Anyway did he ever make any real tax cuts for married couples all I say was 299+ tax increases?

    • Hails a pensions windfall for 2.1million over-55s, who will be able to take a total of £140billion out of their savings next week, or £25,000 each

    Well I welcome this flexibility, but it was already their money so there is no windfall. Meanwhile pension mugger Osborne has further cut the pension cap to £1M (other than for some “special” people) and annual contribution limits to just £40K.

    • Renews his vow to cut migration to below 100,000 a year, telling voters: “I hear you, I get your message”

    He cannot do it without leaving the EU so why promise it again after such a failure last time?

    • Makes his strongest ever pledge to save the Army from further cuts

    Let us hope he does it and make sure the expenditure is well targeted rather than pissed down the drain as so often happens with UK military procurements.

    • Describes his anguish at taking life-and-death decisions involving British troops or hostages

    A shame he got so many so wrong such as the current mess in Libya.

    • Declares he wants “Jihadi John” to be taken “out of action”, dead or alive

    • Rejects his reputation for “chillaxing” and suggests he will not have much time go on ‘date nights’ with Samantha in the campaign.

    Who cares?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      I want to hear Cameron say that he wants:

      cheap energy with no green crap
      far simpler and far lower taxes
      easy hire and fire
      much smaller and less parasitic government
      far less or no EU
      intelligent but selective immigration
      more engineers, builders, homes, doctors, scientists and people doing real & productive jobs and far fewer parasites.
      fewer payment to augment the healthy but feckless.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        And

        a fair electoral deal for England
        and the de-ratting of the IHT £1M threshold promise of 6 years ago, better still the total abolition of IHT

        With this he would win but he is leaving it rather late.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        Yes I’d like that as well. But will those swing voters in 40 marginal constituencies who will determine the election? They might like green crap and rather the election was an auction of promises for ever more spending on ‘our’ NHS?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          I think this swing voters in marginal is misguided we need vision and momentum. The Tories needs to set a snowball rolling it is about a general mood. Wet Heath, Major & Cameron types with their Labour light, pro EU, big state, fake green agendas have been a disaster in elections he could not even beat Gordon Brown. Whereas Lady Thatcher won three (four with Major as her man until they had sussed him to be yet another Cameron/Heath type)

          Floating voters in marginals want cheaper energy, lower taxes, far less government, selective immigration, a competent NHS, decent schools and a fair deal for the English too. Almost no one in England wants a Labour+SNP disaster.

          People often say they want so called “clean” and “renewable” energy but they really want cheap reliable, on demand, energy and the jobs it creates (gas is often cleaner and more environmental anyway in reality). They certainly do not want to pay four times the price for it.

          • Richard1
            Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Indeed I agree with that but I think it’s too late to junk green crap for this election but it would certainly help if they could

      • zorro
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        From that list, he may manage to squeeze out the words – ‘with’ – ‘no’ – ‘and’ – and probably ‘EU’ in a positive context……

        zorro

      • Gary C
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        I’m with you on much of the above though as usual it will fall on deaf ears, today we get promises of what we will do (if we get elected) after the election amnesia will set in and the same conversations will be had in five years time.

        “I hear you, I get your message” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heard it all before !

      • Timaction
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Agree with you but none of the above can be achieved whilst in the EU with the legacy parties in charge. Giving away British public services, particularly health and education for free at our expense to anyone who chips up here. Remember the recharging and charging promise. All talk. Ridiculous. There is only ONE PATRIOTIC party who would put this right!

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        I’m glad cheaper energy is at the top of your list as it is one of the most counter-productive policies ever known by this country. Again, many should read what Roger Helmer (UKIP) has to say on energy. He makes a lot of sense. On the subject of health, there are too many managers and not enough staff on the ground. Immigration is too high and is putting a strain on not only our health services but our schools, housing and jobs. Cameron keeps promising action on this front but has his hands tied all the time we are in the EU. I see Liebour have already started going on about how an EU referendum will destroy jobs!! What a farce. Of course we can still carry on trading with Europe and with the rest of the world as we used to before all this carry on. Getting out of Europe would free us in so many ways. I listened to Farage being interviewed this morning and his coming across as a sensible leader speaking for the UK and for everyone who cares about our future. Also the Unionist leader for N Ireland who was also very composed and sensible rather than the rantings of Sturgeon and Salmond who seems to think he is still in charge and probably still is!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      The Marriage Allowance he introduced (and only from next year) is worth a pathetic £212 at best. Then only if:

      you’re married or in a civil partnership
      you have an annual income of less than £10,600 – including pensions, savings and investments
      your spouse or civil partner has an annual income of between £10,601 and £42,385
      you were both born on or after 6 April 1935

      So very generous after the 299+ tax increases!

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Well it is their money, but what happened to the Conservative idea of saving?
      Clearly what will happen is that people will release their £25000 go on a couple of extra holidays (bookings are already up), then get the tax headache next year.
      Then in a few years time they are complaining because the state pension is insufficient.
      The deal was supposed to be delay the tax and get investment returns on the gross sum in return for the state not funding your retirement. Where did that go?

      • graham1946
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        There will be more of this kind of thing as time goes by. The government want our money as the National debt is unpayable. It will get worse.

        I think the Chancellor is hoping for a massive drawdown of pension money so that the unwary will get a huge tax bill and he gets some short term money, and leave the consequences to succeeding generations, as usual (make no mistake, the National Debt is as such a level that it will take centuries to clear). The pensions’advice’ which was promised has been watered down from face to face with an FA to a phone call to some unqualified charity employee with 6 weeks training.

  3. Mark W
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Restrictions on profit. How and at what level of supply?

    Last time I looked the nhs didn’t manufacture its own light bulbs but bought them from the private sector. Does that mean a light bulb manufacturer supplying hospitals will have its profit monitored or is this just labour drivel for its spite and envy class. Jesus this country….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed, the usual Labour drivel of spite, envy & class warfare. That damages even their own supporters.

      • Mark W
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Jesus even noël Gallagher was slagging miliband off and I remember Blair courting him back in the day. Without the expletives basically he said that thought of miliband as pm was frightening and that labour are now a bunch of communists.

        If this country is stupid enough to plonk labour in power, then I wonder of selling up might be the way forward. I hope not but the way they’re making anyone in business seem toxic is a complete lack of class. The slimey way of hiding behind the idea that it’s google and Starbucks they mean but we know they mean anyone who employs more than one person. They actually champion the mega corps than can handle all the bullsh”t regulation.

        Be warned, the taxes will come from the town hall. The excuse will be something they never knew was so bad. And the smart money will bet on NIC being full rate right the way up, no more only 2% at the top (huh I remember that at nil).

        The labour 4point lead is a bloody nightmare. I’ve always believed a Tory majority is far more possible than people give credit for, I just hope the tide is Cameron’s way on May 7th

        • Hope
          Posted March 30, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          You are too concerned. The reality is not much difference between them. Look at Darling’s plan and see what Osborne has done, fag paper difference. We did not get the spending cuts, we got tax rises. Cameron claiming last week how he has cut the deficit in halve to GDP, most will hear cut deficit in halve. He has borrowed more than Labour in half the time that is the reality.

  4. agricola
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Well the Vida Logica column has started early today. Is it something to do with the time zone change.

    Unfortunately most of the contributors to your diary fully understand what you say about the NHS and where Labour are coming from, tribal politics is their game. They do not have much they can sell the electorate, certainly not the ones who can add up and remember their previous attempts at government. It would seem that just at this moment there are about 35% of the electorate who do not read your diary and would vote Labour even if the candidate walked on four legs.

    While you have to debunk labour mythology, there are bigger questions that we need answers to from your leader. Immigration in vast numbers that cannot be solved while in the EU. Seeming total intransigence at the top of the EU because they have never as yet been faced with the real prospect of the UK leaving. Cameron needs to concentrate their minds , but sadly he is one of them. The ill founded EU and Labour instigated green energy policy that costs our World competitiveness , and our population dearly. The defence of the realm deficit, do the Conservatives really believe you can mount two battle fleets headed by an aircraft carrier each with around fifteen other ships apiece. This is only a third of said deficit, the same argument applies to the Army and Royal Air Force.

    I await your manifesto with interest, but fear that this election will remain at the tribal level.

  5. Hefner
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    LifeLogic,
    I am just wandering whether we (and maybe even yourself) would not be better off creating your own website.

    I guess that it could perhaps help people like me who have to filter out the relevant information from other contributors, between your salvoes of comments, which more or less are always telling the world practically the same things day after day after day.

    Obviously, you may want to send to JR’s website one message a day as some others with their own website already do, so that it would be very easy for anybody interested to go and check your daily comments on the state of this country. You could also put a counter to see how many “access hits” your website would get every day and in this way start to study what topics and comments are really important to your community of readers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      I will reduce a little. I have rather too much work on at the moment anyway.

  6. Kenneth
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Surely the only decent measurement of NHS performance is outcomes.

    However, Labour/LibDems/BBC insist on measuring performance by the amount of money spent.

    This insistence of putting the profit made by health professionals above the health of our population is a tragedy for the many families who have seen loved ones’ lives cut short.

    In my opinion, dogma and propaganda are fatal for thousands of people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, cost is what you pay and value is what you get. The government spend a fortune yet deliver so very little of any value in most areas.

      NHS outcomes are pretty poor compared to many countries and are falling still further behind.

  7. eeyore
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    A minor point: politicians would find it much easier to communicate financial information to the public if they talked not in billions but in so much per person, per household or per taxpayer. £111.8 billion is pretty meaningless to many of us; £1900 each, or £5,500 a household, is not. Keep the billions for your own consumption, you politicians, and speak to us in words we understand.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Or if they had said in 2009 going into 2010: “The government is now having to borrow a quarter of all the money it is spending”, or “The government is having to borrow one pound out of every four that it spends”, that would have brought it home to the public much more forcibly than talking about billions or even talking about pounds per person or per household.

  8. Richard1
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks that’s very clear. Could Mr Lynton Crosby, if he reads This blog, please forward this piece to all Comsevative MPs and any other Tories involved in the election campaign and ask them to make these points. The simple facts are that more money than ever is spent on the NHS and there are more doctors and nurses. the NHS is 94% state provided (against 95% when Labiir left office). IE it’s the most nationalised health service certainly in Europe and probably in the world. Miliband’s ridiculous profit restriction shows how neither he nor any other Labour spokespersons have spent any time working in the private sector. If there are competitive tenders then the price achieved is the price at which it is possible to get a private company to perform the work. Arbitrarily putting a maximum on the margin will either be impossible to define or ensure no private companies want to tender. More reason not to vote for anti- business Labour.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      But we also have anti-business Cameron.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Labour does NOT talk of the English NHS because, It continues with the pretence that the NHS is a (dis)UK service. Because Labour along with most Conservatives and all Lib Dems refuses to recognise England, politically.
    Because Westminster is full of charlatans who praise devolution for Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland whilst at the same time denying it to England. Then making up feeble excuses such as, if England is given devolution it will be the end of the (dis)UK. When anyone with any sense can see, In order to save the (dis)UK, England must be recognised and a new UK federation created.
    This means an English Parliament. Not some arbitary handing down of budgets to county councils/random regions etc.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      It would only need another Act of the UK Parliament starting with the words:

      “There shall be a Scottish Parliament.”

      but with “English” and “England” substituted throughout the Act for “Scottish” and “Scotland”, and a few other adjustments.

      But we could never expect anything that sensible to come from a man who went on the record fourteen years before saying:

      “English nationalism is the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism that can arise within the United Kingdom”.

      Really? So was it English nationalists who constantly plotted to assassinate the Prime Minister and the whole of the Cabinet, and came close to doing that on at least two occasions?

      Here it is:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/596703.stm

      Not only am I insulted for wanting the UK to remain a sovereign independent state rather than being legally subordinated with a pan-European federation, I’m also insulted for being English, and that’s from politicians who are themselves notionally English and who got themselves elected in England.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Winston Churchill made a speech to the Royal Society of St George in London on 24 April 1933. As with so many of his speeches it is well worth reading – just to give you a taster:
      “On this one night in the whole year we are allowed to use a forgotten, almost forbidden word. We are allowed to mention the name of our own country, to speak of ourselves as ‘Englishmen’, and we may even raise the slogan ‘St George for Merrie England’.
      We must be careful, however. You see these microphones? They have been placed on our tables by the British Broadcasting Corporation………….
      Historians have noticed, all down the centuries, one peculiarity of the English people which has cost them dear.We have always thrown away after a victory the greater part of the advantage we gained in struggle. The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage – earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our country, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength.
      Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self -abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias?
      Nothing can save England if she will not save herself.”……

      What a man!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Eight years later Orwell wrote something similar from the other side of the political spectrum:

        http://orwell.ru/library/essays/lion/english/e_eye

        “In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box.”

        • forthurst
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          “You must understand. The leading Bolsheviks who took over Russia were not Russians. They hated Russians. They hated Christians. Driven by ethnic hatred they tortured slaughtered millions of Russians without a shred of human remorse. The October Revolution was not what you call in America the ‘Russian Revolution.’ It was an invasion and conquest over the Russian people. More of my countrymen suffered horrific crimes at their bloodstained hands than any people or nation ever suffered in the entirety of human history. It cannot be understated. Bolshevism was
          the greatest human slaughter of all time. The fact that most of the
          world is ignorant of this reality is proof that the global media itself is in the hands of the perpetrators.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Thank you, Denis.
          Nothing has changed in that regard after all those years!

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Yes the NHS will be a major topic of the campaign, simply because Labour have absolutely nothing to offer on the economy.

    Immigration will also be a key topic as all three legacy Party’s have a record of failure.

    The Conservative PR people need to earn their money in the next couple of months, to make up for the last 4 years of being useless, otherwise you can guarantee you will be out of power.

    You need to come up with a positive but truthful message, but with one big reminder.

    You need to produce a copy of that note which said, we have run out of money.

    Cameron should have that note with him and actually produce it, for all to see on the very last TV debate, just to underline Labours absolute shambolic financial incompetence.

    Just imagine what PR expert Mr Cameron could say:

    ” I have here a piece of paper, written by a Labour Minister, which shows the truth of Labours last term in office, in which both Mr Balls and Mr Miliband were financial advisors”

    There is no money left !

    Would you really want to trust them again ?

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Frankly, I am sick of hearing Westminster politicians eulogising about the NHS for pure party political interests.

  12. John E
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    1. If you factor in population growth how does the spend look per capita?
    2. The Conservatives promised not to embark on another reorganisation of the NHS and promptly broke that promise to no good effect.
    3. We all know from our daily experience that things have got much worse. The NHS clinical staff are under huge pressure which grows daily as experienced colleagues throw in the towel and quit.
    4. You and your colleagues had better get a reality check on the state of the NHS if you aren’t to be embarrassed during the campaign.

  13. Antisthenes
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I have commented before about how dysfunctional the NHS is especially when compared with like for like services in other countries. I returned to the UK last December after eleven years living in France and Canada and have been treated by the health services in both of those countries. On my return I once again had need of medical care and so visited my new local GP.

    My first impression was that the service has modernised somewhat but not entirely in a good way. As it soon became apparent that it has modernised by throwing the baby out with the bath water. The new systems has become to complex and is prone to errors as I soon found out as there was immediately a problem with communication and promises made turned into promises broken. Canada and France keep their procedures much more simple so less prone to mistakes. Medical staff from doctors through to receptionists I noted have still the same attitudes as when I was last in the UK it was bad then and is bad now perhaps even worse. Something I quickly saw was that doctors here unlike doctors in Canada and France work on a production line basis.

    I was told in no uncertain manner that my allotted time with the doctor was ten minutes so examination was brief and cursory. In Canada and France the doctors are thorough and not clock watchers. UK doctors I noted are still petty tyrants who prefer lecturing and withholding treatment to giving advice and treatment. It seems that the NHS is so inefficient and staff and not patient orientated it looks to save money and keep staff happy so is discriminatory.

    Not in the spirit of why the NHS was set up in the first place it was to to give equal healthcare for all regardless of wealth or lifestyle (we are supposed to be a democracy after all and not dictated to by vested interests, which is all so prevalent these days).

    The reason that NHS is the way it is is because of the way provision and funding is done. The Conservatives have been addressing this albeit very slowly because of the constraints of public opinion driven by the ideology and propaganda of the left. The NHS is not a sacred cow as the left will have us believe but a dysfunctional one and if RedEd enters No 10 then it is certain to become even more so, even fail altogether.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      @ Antisthenes – I am not putting up a blanket defence of the NHS nor saying that it does not need to be made better. However my experience at my Doctor’s is most unlike yours to the extent that waiting in the waiting room is prolonged. That is better than being allotted 10 minutes. My Dr listens, digests and suggests.

      Unfortunately getting an appointment with him takes up to two weeks Could be population per doctor, could be that he is oversubscribed because he is good.

      Now the blame culture and compensation, and the unnecessary services offered to the tattooed, the infertile and the disfigured that is something that could change. The NHS should not assist with lifestyles (although there could be a for profit arm to support the free at the point of service arm)

  14. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I am afraid your focus being on senior people and consultant led services does not take into account that firstly many of the new consultants are young Europeans who do not understand the NHS particularly well and secondly this will only mean jobs for the boys and not better services.

    Decisions should be taken from every profession and aspect of working life and not from one group only.

    I was unfortunately admitted to hospital again for a few days. The staff Nurses on night duty were excellent and had a great deal of knowledge and communication abilities. The doctors did not seem to have sufficient knowledge and were guided by computers and a set of lab results. There were 10 behind the curtain with me for an intimate examination, the ward swarmed with Dr’s who did not listen , did not communicate with the patient, only between themselves and did not have a clue how to discuss potential problems and diagnosis with the patient. They now think that crouching down to a patient on their knees
    is a better approach ..to be on the patients level..how condescending. I think most patients are intelligent enough to understand the difference between lying down and standing. No one deserves any respect because of the position they hold , only the job they adequately do.

    The staff Nurses on days were from other countries who shouted and danced , tried power punches to take control .. in other words ..they were cocky.

    The TV programmes are now showing GP’ at work . Do you realise that all the jobs they show which are televised as Doctors Jobs are actually nurses jobs and we are being plagiarised as a profession. Why is this ? Isn’t it obvious ; Consultations are the money for the private sector and jobs for the boys..

  15. majorfrustration
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Anyone got Norman Tebbit’s telephone number -its time some backbone was injected into the Tory party.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Amusingly, Nicola Sturgeon says that she will inject not only backbone but also guts into a Labour government:

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/nicola-sturgeon-we-ll-be-labour-s-backbone-guts-1-3732115

      With Tebbit injecting backbone on one side and Sturgeon injecting backbone and guts on the other Parliament could get pretty messy.

      Oh, but if Sturgeon got her way Tebbit wouldn’t be there, as she is demanding the abolition of the House of Lords. And I expect that will play very well for the SNP in Scotland and at least put the other parties, especially the Tories, on the back foot across the whole of the UK, insofar as any voters care about it. Because if not the clean solution of outright abolition, what would they do about it? We know that a minority of Tory backbenchers were so determined to maintain the status quo that they provided Clegg with an excuse for blocking the boundary changes, which may prove to be a high price for the Tories to pay come May 7th.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Get him cloned quickly.

  16. ian wragg
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I visited my wife’s Great Aunt who is Italian. She is was being attended by a lovely young girl from Padua where the Aunt is from.
    She told me she is one of seventeen student nurses recruited from Padua for training in the UK NHS.
    She seemed amazed that we can’t get enough people to fill the courses. We all know that is not true don’t we.
    What is going on with the NHS John.
    International for treatment and international for training. I strongly object.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      “International for treatment and international for training” – – but only NATIONAL funding – courtesy of the govt telling the world it is entitled to free healthcare on the UK taxpayer.

  17. graham1946
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Spend for 2015/16 – £111.8 billion for the whole shooting match.

    Puts into perspective the 0.7 percent Foreign Aid Budget (around what, £12 billion) and the £50 billion (and rising daily) cost of a train set which no-one sensible wants, just for politicians to play with.

    We are promised a couple of billion extra for the NHS by Labour and Conservative, but what could be done with half of that Overseas aid Budget and all of the Train Set money? Anyway, I thought the railways were privatised now. If it’s such a great idea, where is the private money to build it? Why are the government doing it? What next, new stores for Tesco?

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    A few years ago, my daughter was taken ill on a Saturday evening in a restaurant in Sardinia whilst on holiday. She was rushed to the local hospital in a taxi, and they decided to admit her. As she said afterwards, she was in bed on a ward in a shorter time than it would have taken to get past reception in our local A&E!
    But the duty doctor wasn’t too happy, so he phoned a consultant/specialist at home, and just after midnight the specialist arrived, having driven some 30 miles. He stayed for a while overseeing her treatment, and then re-appeared mid-morning on the following day (Sunday). Fortunately all went well and she was discharged after a week following a final check by the specialist.
    Can one imagine this on the NHS?.
    Why should a country like this which we are told is on the verge of bankruptcy be able to do what we can’t?
    Fortunately, it was covered by the EU scheme and didn’t cost her anything.

  19. forthurst
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    According to the GMC, “Tomorrow’s Doctors: Domain 3 – Equality, diversity and opportunity”

    ” 62. Evidence for this domain will include:

    . medical school policies and action plans about equality and diversity

    . information about staff training in equality and diversity, including data on attendance/compliance

    . monitoring data about student applications: evidence of addressing equality and diversity matters within admissions processes, progression, assessment and arrangements made for supervision, covering sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender identity and age

    . information about ‘reasonable adjustments’ made for students with disabilities and the procedures in place to review the effectiveness of the adjustments reports and minutes of meetings.”

    There is something very wrong with a country which has to import a large proportion of its medically ‘qualified’ staff, and permits to practice some whose English is not even to a conversational level. There is something very wrong with a country which permits to practice so many doctors with a total inability to diagnose serious medical conditions and then fails to take disciplinary action against them even when their incompetence leads to unnecessary and early death.There is something very wrong with a country which fails to give the opportunity to 90% of its children to qualify to attend a selective school which would offer to educate them to a level which is normative for a first world country’s entry to a medical school and then uses other criteria than examination results for assessing candidates’ potential. There is something very wrong with a country that artificially restricts the number of places at medical school whilst failing to recognise that female applicants will not typically be offering to work full time for a full career. There is something very wrong with a country that believes that ‘diversity’ is more important than competence. The liblabcon has failed this country disastrously and putting more pressure on GPs, whose waiting rooms are overfilled with patients whose right to NHS treatment is either nonexistent , or will arise by virtue of their being from this side of the Urals, or whose English is nonexistent, will cause even more to take early retirement.

  20. Jerry
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Nice Headline in the media for the Tories but I assume the party has actually checked with consultants etc. that they are happy with the idea of being contracted to the NHS on a 24/7 rota (rather than relying on junior doctors etc. to deal with the “out of hours stuff”) and on a NHS pay scale, as it is they who are needed to work these extra hours for their NHS Trusts as the rest of the NHS has been running 24/7 ever since its creation except for the time-outs called by certain senior medical/surgical staff, often so they can provide consultation etc. for private medical companies etc.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “… the General Election is irrelevant to the NHS in Wales and Scotland, so why is Labour ignoring their vote in those two countries by talking all the time about NHS England?”

    But it’s not entirely irrelevant, is it? Because the UK government and Parliament decides how much money the UK Treasury will provide to the Scottish government as the block grant to be spent in the policy areas where it and the Scottish Parliament have devolved authority, and likewise with Wales; so if Labour promise to spend more money on the NHS in general terms then it is assumed that will feed through to more money to spent on the NHS in Scotland and Wales as well as the NHS in England.

    And then the SNP can spuriously claim that unlike the UK government the Scottish government always balances its books, ignoring the fact that the UK government is borrowing to supply the Scottish government with the money to do that.

    But of course you are indirectly lending more support to the common sense proposal that the NHS in England should be a matter devolved to a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for the whole of England, granting the English what the Scots have had for fifteen years now; then the NHS in England would become a proper subject for the general election of that English Parliament.

  22. Ian wragg
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    What about an article on energy policy or lack thereof. I just commented on Richard North’s Eureferendum blog which should be renamed We hate UKIP but he deletes me. The offending sentence was only UKIP have a credible energy policy.
    I see we are now losing Longannet as well as Killingholme so that’s another 6% of our capacity lost.
    Any comments John.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      I too like Dr. North’s site. Read it every day, just like this one. Post as when needed and not bothered about the anti-UKIP stuff.

      I have learned an awful lot over the years from his various sites. And not all of it from what has been written or linked too.

  23. Iain Gill
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Health care in the UK is rubbish.

    Throwing money at it is not the solution.

    I am disappointed you list money spent as some indicator of quality produced, when the opposite is often true.

    Out here in the real world people are sick and tired of the political class and its love in with the NHS, we can all see the NHS is rubbish we want politicians to tell it like it is. Stop supporting a failure of a system.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      @Iain Gill; “we can all see the NHS is rubbish”

      You might see the NHS as rubbish, no doubt from your private hospital room window, but the vast majority of those who use the NHS do not, quite the opposite. It also needs to be noted that the private health care companies are not exactly falling over themselves to run their own emergency A&E departments and ambulances etc, nor do they seem able to run a full NHS hospital (acting like some rail franchise holders when they find they can’t cope, by handing back the keys), anyone can cherry pick the best or easy fruits.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Just to add; The NHS is a red line for me, as I suspect it is for many natural but floating/thoughtful Tory voters, if the right will no longer support the NHS then our votes will be lost [1], and remember the floating/thoughtful middle ground holds most of the available votes for any party, hence why a certain europhobic party got in a muddle a month or so ago when their leader suggested that he favoured a move towards a more commercialised insurance based health care system.

        [1] and if we find that we have been betrayed during an election it will be remembered at the next

        • ChrisS
          Posted March 30, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          The NHS is a red line in more than one way : the accounts are covered in Red Ink because the working practices are so out of date compared with the private sector.

          The politicians know that throwing even more money at the system like Brown and Blair did without a root and branch reform is most definitely not the answer. Yet for political reasons that’s exactly what they are doing with our money !

          Any commercial business that wants to thrive has to adapt and change when faced with increased demand and financial pressures. The management of that business can’t just carry on as it had been because it would not have a government it could blackmail into providing more funds.

          The NHS is not a lovely cuddly institution, nor are the staff working in it any more dedicated than most good people in the private sector.

          If it were, Mid Staffs would never have happened.

          In fact, you could make an argument that it probably would not have happened if it were a private sector organisation : shareholders would have been warned of the problems and done something about it to protect their investment.

          As it was the precious bloody NHS, everyone looked the other way and despite warnings, Burnham and co did nothing to call it to book. Labour are such hypocrites when it comes to the NHS it makes my blood boil.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            @ChrisS; If you are going to slag off the NHS accounts then do so with a like-for-like service, but as there is no like-for-like service in the UK because there is no profit in such as (monetising) health service that is open to all, free at the point of need, free at the point of use, you can’t.

            The NHS is short of is funding, hence the red ink on the accounts, so unless of course you idea is to limit health care to only those profitable areas… Hence why even the Conservatives talk-the-talk about more funding, I just hope that they will indeed walk-the-walk – if there is any doubt then my vote will be the walking (away).

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

            Indeed Chris, you are right.
            The NHS is the closest thing we have to a national religion now in the UK as the Church of England drifts off into the sunset.
            No criticism or modification of its lumbering hulk can be allowed or even spoken about.
            Over a million employees now and we are told more are needed.
            Just keep spending more and more money on the NHS, its the only way apparently.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “The NHS is the closest thing we have to a national religion”

            Indeed, because for most people theirs and their loved ones health trumps all other things, even a personal fortune.

            Of course some like to push the idea of a commercialised health service not because they believe it will be any better but because as ultra-capitalists they see “opportunities”. They believe that it is all good and dandy to charge the plebs a going rate for access to a heath service if it is they and their partner companies doing it to make a profit but hell should first freeze over before the State be allowed to tax the plebs on a Pro-rata rate of their income to fund a universal health service for all that is as good or better than what they could have provided.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            The NHS has claimed it is short of funding all my life.
            Blair and Brown doubled in real terms the amount spent on the NHS.
            And still it isnt enough.

            Our ultra caring voter Jerry wants ever more spending.
            It is underfunded he tells us.
            Tax us even more to pay for it.
            Just a bit more and it will be sorted.
            Yeah right.

            It strikes me if we spent every penny this nation earns it would still not be enough for this huge money spending machine and some ultra caring people.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; But you also want more funding Edward, unless you really are suggesting heath-care rationing, except that you want the poorer and the already unhealthy (pre-existing conditions usually result in higher health insurance quotes) to pay more so you can presumably pay less. Unless of course your true reason for wanting to commercialise the NHS is because you see those “opportunities” from others misfortune and ill-health – If that makes me a Socialist then I’ll go to the polling station holding the sign with pride and might (only might, other parties are available) just end up voting that way too, as I said, red lines are red lines.

            In my life I have had enough ‘close-shaves’ with accidents etc. which could have left me with long term health or care requirements that unlike so many on our hosts site I do not subscribe to the doctrine that “it can’t happen to me”, I understand full well that I’m often only inches away from spending the rest of my life dependant on the NHS and/or benefits even if an insurance payout might give some comfort.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            How wonderful you are.
            So just another few billion will sort it presumably.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Unless you are proposing health care rationing you also want “another few billion spent”, to get the sort of health service we both want (and many suggest other countries already enjoy), the only difference between the two of us is who pays, (you) the few -who will end up paying a lot more, or (me) the many -who will end up paying a little more, Pro-rata.

            The UK appears to have a quite low health expenditure per capita, even compared to some of our near neighbours.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            It is endless Jerry that is my point.
            Its always in need of “just a few more billion”.
            Even today we have the political parties all out bidding each other to say “we will spend x billion more to save the NHS as if this will cure all its ills.

            Our NHS is already rationed.
            As are most world health services rationed in one way or another.

            Per capita gives some odd results especially between large nations with large populations (like the UK) and small nations with small populations (like Denmark Sweden etc)
            The overall spending per nation needs to be looked at too.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; “It is endless Jerry that is my point.”

            No it is not your point, it is your excuse for replacing the NHS with something less expensive to YOU.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            No thats not correct.
            You impugn my motives.
            Its about challenging that the only way to get better outcomes from State provided services is endlessly increasing funding.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            @Edward2, Stop trying to twist what you have already said, you want lower costs, YOU want to pay less (via YOUR taxes), that means either a cut in the services provided or some OTHER PEOPLE having to pay more via their own taxes or more likely via the increased cost of having to take out private health care insurance policies that either pay 100% of the bill or a French style top-up.

            You seem to think that you can pay less but still get a quart into the now pint pot, go do some basic arithmetic!

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            I wish to pay the same, but gain a better service.
            I do not wish you or anyone else to pay more for me.
            It is possible get a better service for similar amounts of money spent. Companies do it every day.
            I have no wish to pay less.

            I do think more of those who can afford to, could be encouraged to have private health insurance and therefore relievive some pressure on the NHS.

            You feel that only endless amounts of extra money will improve outcomes.
            That is OK, many do.

            We must agree to disagree.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 3, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “I wish to pay the same, but gain a better service.”

            But in the real world you won’t be able to do that, unless you are suggesting nationalising the pharmaceutical and other supply side industries. you claim to be a capitalist but you don’t seem to understand the free market, we would all love to be able to pay less for our goods and services than what the manufactures/suppliers wish to sell them for! So perhaps you want to save money by paying doctors and nurses less than they are already paid, if so how are you planning to retain their high skills in a free market, ban them from leaving (the country) as the USSR used to do?…

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Suppliers are regularly being pressed to reduce prices in the NHS.
            eg recently the meningitis b vacine was greatly reduced in price by good negotiations.
            Efficiencies, reduced waste, reduced errors, clever use of staff and buildings, good time management, energy savings, education programmes to encourage lifestyle changes means healthier populations.
            I could go on.
            Many management experts feel any large organisation can make improvements and save large sums whilst maintaining or even improving customer care.
            We see it in the High Street all the time.
            Competition bringing lower prices and or better customer service.
            But you just say more money is the only cure.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Throwing money is not the solution but unfortunately it is the political solution.

      The answer maybe to set amounts for procedures and pay hospital for carrying them out. (Just like a garage with your car). The funding should be ringfenced and paid by the taxpayer in arrears.

      We would soon see tattoo removal, cosmetic surgery, unattended appointments, fertility treatments and other lifestyle supplicants being popularly removed from the list of services provided.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 30, 2015 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        Narrow Shoulders; “The answer maybe to set amounts for procedures and pay hospital for carrying them out. (Just like a garage with your car).”

        Garage fixed price menus always end up costing far more, compared to a floating price, losses have to be made up by finding additional work or perhaps not always checking things through!…

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted March 30, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          @jerry

          Good garages/ bad garages. Good health outlets / bad health outlets. ‘Twas ever thus

          • Jerry
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            @NS; Please read my reply to Edward2.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry

            I bow to your greater and painful experience but each of those add on services has a fixed rate and price to be charged at. No managers or overpriced accountants required. Just relatively simple cashflow and profit and loss.

            A garage may need to ramp up extras to make money but an overworked trust at capacity not pressured into sales or profit just concentrating on service Should not bilk the tax payer. Not any more than at present anyway.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense Jerry.
          Fixed prices in garages are just that.
          You need to change your car repairers

          • Jerry
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Once again, you are so wrong…

            I am the repairer, and have been since well before these “Menu priced repairs” first gained popularity [1]. You get a fixed amount of Labour and parts for a fixed price, nothing more (and hopefully), nothing less – QED!

            Typically for a menu service you’ll get engine oil and engine filters with the other fluid levels checked, but a cabin pollen filter, fuel filter or new spark plugs should they be due are likely to be extras and charged out as extra parts and labour costs, brake pads will be inspected but replacement of pads etc. or a fluid change will be also charged out as an extra parts and labour cost and so on, servicing of the aircon will be extra, changing antifreeze will be too as will be a cambelt change. Menu servicing is a loss-leader for the garage, to get the footfall, which then relies on the workshop staff finding other work to make a profit. I know of one fast-fit brand who tells its staff, finding extra work on all four corners of the vehicle is worth around £200 per corner on average [2] depending on make and type of vehicle to the company – which the staff then get paid a bonus on, hum…

            Obviously main dealer menu servicing tends to be priced around the specified service schedules of the vehicles and thus include all likely parts but then again you are paying inflated dealer rates to start with.

            [1] or at least I was until I could no longer treat customers like cash-cows to be milked, now I work for myself, in a totally different aspect of the motor trade.

            [2] such as a new tyre, new brake pads and hopefully disc (that means that both sides will be done, or should…), new shock absorber (again both sides), new drive-shaft gaiters, new steering joints/gaiters etc.

            Apologies to John for taking the bait and straying so far off topic. 🙁

          • Edward2
            Posted March 30, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

            More rambling off topic nonsense from you Jerry.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; What ever, but I didn’t bring up the comparison with garage menu servicing, so I’m not the one responsible for taking it off topic nor the one talking nonsense, unlike you.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            Errr… you brought up the fixed price garage nonsense Jerry.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 31, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Wrong again, actually it was Narrow Shoulders, “The answer maybe to set amounts for procedures and pay hospital for carrying them out. (Just like a garage with your car).” – do feel free to actually read the conversation rather than replying with ad-hock insults when something catches your eye that hurts your ideology…

          • Edward2
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            It was you who decided to write an long boring essay after that quick analogy about fixed pricing as is common in private health hospitals and clinics was mentioned.
            Totally off topic and of little relevance or usefulness as usual with your posts.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Stop arguing for the sake of it! I wasn’t ever replying to a comment made by you. But I bet you would be not calling it “Boring” had I agreed with the idea and thus supported the idea as a possible way of providing the private medial service you advocate, it’s only “boring” in your opinion because it proves the idea to be so wrong and unworkable in the health care system and why…

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            @Jerry

            I would dispute that it proves the idea would not work. You highlighted some issues true but a blanket refutation it most certainly was not. The idea has legs and should be further explored as part of the reform of national insurance that auto enrolment will surely bring. Not privatised, still free at the point of service but fully accountable and transparent.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

            Im not advocating private health Jerry another accusation not borne out by what I have written.
            Just pointing out that insurance based private heath facilities use menu pricng with great success.
            As do many NHS trusts.
            Any extras above the agreed costs have to be approved between insurer and the claimant.
            Your dismissal of this working system because of your experiences of menu pricing in the motor repair industry strikes me as a poor analogy.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            @NS; The problem is with the “finding extra work” that makes any loss-leader concept ultimately profitable (which is the foundation of the Menu style of marketplace pricing), most motor repairs, and I suspect most medical procedures, already have a known and thus fixed cost, indeed in the case of the motor trade most garages can’t get away with charging out more hours than the manufactures own repair times, so why the need for an eye-catching price menu if it is not being used as loss-leaders to obtain the footfall? At least with your car you can have a poke around and see if your shock-absorbers are leaking, your tyre-treads are bald or what ever, attend your local A&E because you have bad pains in you abdomen you will be taking on total trust that when the doctor says “We best have that appendix of yours out” that is the cause of your pain and not just trapped wind that will pass on its own accord…

          • Jerry
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            @Edwartd2; If you are not advocating a private health care system of any sort, and that include French style top-ups, then you must be wanting to ration health care, how else do you propose to save money? I have already shown that most countries, with a comparable health care systems, actually pay more than for their health services than we do in the UK.

            As for your suggestion that insurance based health care system do not cost more, the USA has the highest health care costs of any country, and has a tradition of providing unnecessary procedures carried out from pre-natal to the point of death.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            The Labour Party doubled funding on the NHS.
            But it did not double the standards of service, patient outcomes or quality.

            This shows that your solution of just more money is not the way forward.

            There already is a private health care system operating in the UK.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 3, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Yes the 1997-2010 Labour government made a right pigs ear out of some aspects of the the NHS, but then they were trying to be ‘more Tory than the Tory party’ on health policies which did nothing more than carry on and increase top-heavy management bureaucracy and costs (never mind the tick-box culture that it spawned) at the expense of front-line services.But this only passes judgement on the Blair/Brown ‘Blue-Labour’ years, not the entire concept of Beveridge’s NHS as a free at the point of need/use health care system, complete with a fully integrated community care service, to stop -for example- the current problems of unnecessary bed-blocking and thus unnecessary hospital budgetary costs because there is no suitable out- patient, residential or home care provision that allows the patient to be discharged.

            There already is a highly selective, limited service, pre-paid, private health care system operating in the UK .

            There, fixed your “statement of fact” for you. You might also care to suggest a name for one of these private health care companies that provide a free at the point of need emergency service, meaning their own ambulance and A&E service, complete with on-site ready and waiting operating facilities etc?…

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

            Now you admit there is a private health industry but say its highly selective and limited service.
            Well yes.
            But so what?
            Encourage it to expand then.
            Any increase would reduce the loads on the NHS.

            You now admit that we doubled funding on the NHS in the Labour years and did not double outcomes.
            Well thats a breakthrough.
            Perhaps the penny will drop with you that its not all about pouring money into an organisation.
            Its about what value and effect you get from that extra money.

  24. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Labour’s 5% profit cap does not apply to GP practices which is odd because they are self-employed and can do private and NHS work as they wish. GP’s pay increased massively under Tony Blair’s government and their productivity fell as they were allowed to opt out of providing out-of-hours care (nearly all of them opted out). They are now the most highly paid general doctors in Europe. Now presumably we will pay them even more for providing the 24-hrs service they should have been providing in the first place. Any pay increase will push them firmly into the top 1% of earners. They are already the group most generally affected by the reduction in the pension LTA to £1 million. (I understand MPs are exempt from that pension limit incidentally, nice for them).
    Reply MPS ARE NOT EXEMPT.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Mortality rates are 11% higher on Saturday and 16% higher on Sunday for weekend admissions to hospitals. However, because there is some resistance to admitting people to hospital over the weekend, patients admitted over the weekend tend to be more ill.

    So are the higher weekend death rates due to fewer staff or sicker people? Before incurring the extra expenditure on doctor time, which would be substantial, we should know the answer to this question.

  26. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I have read about doctors being paid several thousand pounds to do a shift in A&E. Is this true, Mr. Redwood. If it is, it is a disgrace.

  27. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    As a matter of interest John ,do we have caretaker P’s and PM until after the next parliament?

    Replies Ministers stay as Ministers until the result of the election changes them. They are asked to do nothing new, but are available if there is a crisis decision that has to be taken before the results of the election.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Like agreeing to an illegal bailout of Greece; although we understand that before the outgoing Chancellor, Darling, agreed to that he did ring the most likely person to take over his post, Osborne, and secured his consent.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 30, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; Should the country face a sudden April 1982 type crisis would the PM and minister plus civil service and privy council have to go it alone or is their any way the old MPs could be recalled – perhaps by command from the Queen, would the Lords be recalled?

  28. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    MP’s

  29. peter davies
    Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    “There is no evidence from Wales, where Labour does run the NHS, that it is better” Indeed – I would have put this far cruder myself

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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