The Scottish and the English NHS


I wish the Scottish nurse with ebola a speedy recovery and good treatment. I am glad the UK NHS can help.

The fact that Scotland has to send its first ebola case to England should pause us to consider the claims about the NHS made in the Scottish referendum. Voters were told by the SNP that protecting the NHS in Scotland from unspecified or untrue political  threats was one of the main reasons Scotland should be independent. Campaigners for the Union replied that under devolution the SNP majority in Edinburgh already had control over the Scottish NHS and they therefore could guarantee it for themselves without state independence. The funding formula ensures Scotland gets more money per head.

So it is an irony that a difficult case has to be transferred to NHS England, under the control of a Conservative Secretary of State. It is tribute to England that we can offer these important enhanced services despite the funding formula. Maybe a Conservative Minister is no  bad thing for the NHS after all.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The NHS may be able to find facilities for this high profile case. Meanwhile alas hundreds of others are dying due to incompetence, endless delays, cancelled operations, too early discharge without proper provisions, not being fed, restrictions on drugs, general staff shortages, often poor staff quality and many other management problems in the “free at the point of rationing and much incompetence” NHS. The NHS is in desperate need of change, start firstly by charging everyone (who can pay) at least something and then treating them properly like customers. Rather than liabilities who have to be kept away, pushed from pillar to post or delayed as far as possible – as currently pertains.

    At least then the many drunks and addicts will have less to spend on their addictions after their treatments.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      An estimated 90,000 urgently needed operation will be cancelled at a very late stage this year by the NHS. One can only imagine the anguish and huge inconvenience this causes to the sick patents and their relatives. The numbers are also increasing significantly.

      • Hope
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        This epitomises the ridiculous negotiating position of Cameron. Cave in and give them what they want and give some more when it does not work out. So after giving Scotland everything and more money an it needs he gives some more, the same with the Welsh NHS. Does it occur to Cameron that devolution is too one sided on the English taxpayer and it is time to provide balance? If they want devolution get on with it.

        Bail out to Ireland when he promised not to bail out EUro countries, Irleland chose to John the Eauro and wanted to be separate from England. A bit like the additional £1.5 billion to N.Ireland or the £1.7 billion to the EU. Cameron keeps on giving away our money!

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Let’s hope the English have not been exposed to the risk of ebola for the sake of political point scoring against the Scots.

          • Mark B
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:56 am | Permalink

            The point scoring was made by, Sturgeon when she stated that; “Scotland is prepared” when the truth should have been; “the UK is prepared” or, “England has prepared for us”

            Unless that is she meant dumping her problems on the English was the solution all along.

        • Mark B
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:53 am | Permalink

          It’s not our money. It’s borrowed money that we will have to pay back with interest.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr Logic is it not hyperbole to suggest that “hundreds of others are dying” without actually submitting some evidence to prove that this is happening right now? If it is cases such as this would be a ripe field of work for the lawyers, just as it is for trial lawyers in the US up against PRIVATE hospitals. Also do a bit of googling to see how the Americans have a problem with fighting off MRSA and C. difficile etc. Also if you have any contacts with UK doctors (being that you do not live here to begin with) ask them if they would use a private hospital here, particularly if it involves an over night stay, you might be surprised at some of the answers you get and why.

      I agree with you that appointments need to be backed with a monetary deposit as failure to turn up pee’s off my other half like nothing else.

      • Colin
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Dame Rita, like so many who weigh in to the debate on the NHS, you seem to think that there are only two countries in the world. No one is proposing that we adopt the American system, still less the caricature of it promoted by the left. Instead, consider how things are done in France, or Germany, or the Netherlands, or Switzerland, or Singapore, or Australia, all of which have better healthcare systems than we do.

        • English Pensioner
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          I was certainly impressed by Australia’s system when we were there a few years ago. My wife needs regular blood tests, and they were efficiently carried out by the Sydney hospital once they had checked her passport to make sure that she was eligible for treatment under the reciprocal arrangements (otherwise it was cash on the spot). Not only that, they phoned the results to her at our hotel “to save you wasting time coming back tomorrow”. In Melbourne, they checked the computer, there were her details and the previous results. Meanwhile the NHS has problems getting records from Amersham to Stoke Mandeville some five or so miles down the road!
          Our Australian friend whom we were visiting spoke highly of their system and observed that she’d now got “a nice new English doctor at the surgery”. That tells us something!

          • William Gruff
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            NHS blood test results: two weeks.

            My wife works for a veterinary charity. Blood test results: same day /next day. Some tests they can do on site. That’s a cost conscious charity. Could the reason be that it isn’t run by bureaucrats and politicians?

            The NHS should be broken up and mutualised, not privatised.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            @ William Gruff

            Indeed and the main difference is that the Veterinary industry gets paid at the point of need/supply and is largely private sector.

            The NHS organisation is appalling mainly run for the benefit of the senior staff.

        • libertarian
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


          Absolutely, the NHS is ranked 18th by the World Health Organisation the 17 other countries who are above us in the table all offer some form of free at the point of use or fully funded health care. Personally I think the Singapore system ( 6th ) is a very clever system of ring fenced health financing that also helps people get on the housing ladder in one of the worlds most expensive housing places.

          Dame Rita,

          I’ve just finished reading a book written by a senior NHS consultant. He said the opposite of you, that most senior Doctors and consultants have private health insurance as they wouldn’t touch the NHS with a bargepole. I haven’t found any statistics to corroborate that so far but will continue to investigate. My own experiences have been that for routine medical issues private hospitals are far better, I’m sure the NHS provide better ( the only) treatment for more acute problems. Having said that where I live a new £95 million private hospital tertiary care centre , providing high quality complex procedures and acute care in areas such as cardiology, cardiac surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, complex orthopaedics and surgical oncology recently opened and was entirely privately funded.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Those who can pay? Who could pay for any large illness especially when they would have to take months or years off whilst suffering the illness? I presume by insurance premium or they or their families would be one illness from the street in most cases? Maybe they could sell their yachts or mansions from their tax to pay for the problem? Or just keep fit? That could be seen a risky or more dangerous than a simple book with some blue cheese listening to classical music. Which in turn could be seen as lethargic and idle both needing increased premiums especially when combined with pre-conditions, age place of residence and job. Two tier for you then. It’s for the best to help tax cuts to fund healthcare.
      This would help people focus on their addictions? This is an example of sensible right wing thinking is it. Idiotic or naive at best. Addictions by their nature faced by addicts financial logic does not come into it. Hence the willingness by many to buy fags at a tenner a packet instead of more ‘sensible’ things such as health insurance. Maybe they wakeup and quite reasonably decide to become alcoholic drug addicts on the street as a career move taking your thinking to the next ‘logical’ step. How would any health insurance cover this? It would not.
      Just quietly dying is also an option to both the individual and state. Could be expensive, but logical and for the best.

      • Qubus
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Bazman, perhaps you should have a good look at the German system before you start your usual ranting.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Welcome back Bazman, I’ve missed your rants of lately. etc ed

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Well start by making them pay £30 or something similar for each visit not all visits are expensive after all. Some may need very little beyond some reassurance or a cheap prescription – after all they mug you for £80 if you stay at a parking meter for 1 extra minute.

        Then they might start to treat people as customers rather than an inconvenience to be deterred from attending if at all possible. Certainly they should charge those who have never contributed in full anyway.

        “If I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government.”

        Milton Friedman (or that’s the NHS as he might have said)
        If nothing else they should stop the very many quack, alternative and vanity treatments they fund.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Many would not go to the doctors as is a problem with men at the moment leading to further complications further down the line. Costing more like charging for rubbish collection would not increase fly tipping would it?! £30 per visit? So sixty quid for a couple assuming children would not pay? You think this is small change given many are already close to the edge? Charging those who have not contributed would include young unemployed or single mothers and the like one presumes? Not real or based on anything workable as per usual. and do not quote Germany when it suits you Qubus, we could quote many German methods that do not fit into deluded right wing ideology. Germany is a middle class society, we are not.
          Right wing nonsense from both of you. Is there no limit?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Taxes should be reduced to compensate and those few who genuinely cannot pay should not have too or should be able to pay over time.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 31, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            Which taxes indirect ones like VAT? Income tax? many do not earn enough to pay and the ones that do earn so little get tax back in the form of benefits and tax credits. They are to take loans out to pay for medical bills? Remortgage their homes? Maybe they could get reduced inheritance tax bill.
            A 40k medical bill would put most on the street a fact you choose not to believe or ignore.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 2, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          How do you feel about charging the obese and smokers more for the NHS as they have in many ways contributed to their own demise? Smokers in particular. The high taxes are there to make smoking prohibitively expensive due to the health implications and the cost of medical bills to the state not to fund medical bills due to their addiction. The same applying to alcohol.
          Now overweight people too have in some way contributed to their ill health and should pay taking this further they should indeed by charged more for airline tickets due to their weight or discounts should apply to lighter passengers. It’s pure science and logic I’m sure you would agree? You do not? One little wonders why.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Bazman – Do you know how insurance works ?

        Only asking because I’m thinking of trading in for a Honda Jazz.

        (Jazz Man meets Basman !)

        • Bazman
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          Honda have named their car well and as soon as other manufactures give their cars names after jazz mags such as the Ford Fiesta/Escort and the Mini Mayfair the sooner car sales will improve.

    • waramess
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      You do no more than perpetuate a failed system when you propose to make people pay (even more) for the NHS.

      “Free at the point of use” is no more than a socialist catch phrase and a bit of a trap for the unwary because the reason it is free at the point of use is we have all been obliged to pay for it and, the reason we have been given no choice is to ensure the NHS has no competition.

      With no competition there is no way we can ascertain whether it is good value for money and so the NHS becomes answerable only to itself.

      This is how it has become such a self serving sloppy and dangerous State Service but no politician dares say so because the rhetoric of the left will drown them out.

      That Scotland needs to send patients to England for treatment is hardly worthy of comment.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


      Lowest percentage of insulin pumps in the developed world leading to much blindness, amputation and death needlessly

      Very low percentage of patients actually given decent treatment for prostrate cancer most just left to die with pain relief and little else to show for a supposedly ok health system

      Working folk unable to a see a doc

  2. JoeSoap
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Well done, I think you beat a lot of us to this!
    Unbelievable after all this waffle north of the border that as soon as something serious happens, they come crying to England.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Just shows how poor the Union side were at putting their NHS arguments across at the time.

    Are NHS England going to charge NHS Scotland ?

    Once again the lack of negotiation and presentation skills of the simple facts by those politicians who were running the campaign at the time, failed to convince huge numbers of voters.

    Meanwhile the BBC as usual are economic with the facts.

    I have to say I missed most of the news yesterday, other than the headlines, (not yet purchased a newspaper today) I had no idea the English NHS were involved !

    Ebola in the UK was bound to happen at some stage, given the number of UK personal working abroad to help fight this awful problem.

    Let us hope our systems (which I guess are in place) can cope, but I thought after the big fanfare of the so called precautions of temperature screening, when both leaving and arriving, the risk here was supposed to be minimal.
    Or were such precautions mainly for publicity purposes.

    • Hope
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Well said. Why should the English taxpayer pay twice!

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Patients from Wales also put a strain on NHS England travelling across the border to get better treatment thanks to the incompetence of the Labour run NHS in Wales. Both countries already get far more money from UK coffers as it is to spend on their health thanks to the anti-English coalition and previous Labour government.

      Imagine if this were the other way around, the Scots and Welsh would be up in arms about it and at the very least demanding payment from the English taxpayer – again!!!

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It is a damming reflection of our political class’ priorities that health workers ( no doubt some of the most able) can be provided to other countries to sort out problems better tackled through education of the populous ( don’t wash a dead body you fools) by their own leaders in prefernce to fully manning wards here.

    Scotland’s growing deficiencies are becoming more apparent with time, we have to pay for this failing socialist utopia. Time to really revise the Barnett formula in line with raising of their own tax. They can pay for what they want.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I have just spent two days unexpectedly in hospital after feeling unwell on Sunday morning, not through any holiday excess . The ambulance arrived within minutes, straight into A&E, which was manic through the day, and later when there was a bed available into the specific unit. The attention was first class and as good as I can imagine you can receive. Money has clearly been well spent on resources by my hospital trust and as this was my first stay overnight since I was five an eye opener to what goes on – I was very impressed by the all round professionalism, friendliness and management.

    I didn’t intend writing this up but since your first blog since my discharge was the NHS I felt I should do so.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      There are indeed some excellent people working at the NHS but much of the system is appalling, inefficient, under staffed, very poorly managed and dangerous.

  6. formula57
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    “It is tribute to England that we can offer these important enhanced services..” – indeed it is. So how come Scotland cannot, especially given its unfairly generous budget allocation? Clearly the answer would have to come from the government they have there but it is yet another illustration of how England would have been better off seeing Scotland exit the Union.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Quite easy you spend your money in line with likely demand. England (pop 53 million) has the capability to deal with TWO ebola cases at anyone time. Scotland has a population of around the tenth of that, so how many beds do you think the jocks should have without wasting their limited resources? NB before anybody gets on their high horse, I seem to remember the NHS England paying for some little lad to be sent to Prague for proton therapy earlier this year.

      • formula57
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        A good point Dame Rita – wholly undermined alas by demand being equal to one.

      • Qubus
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        These Scottish beds, or absence of them, are not beds dedicated to Ebola cases; they are simply beds in isolation units. I should have thought that that was quite obvious and Scotland should have more than one of them.

  7. Iain Moore
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    If we get another two cases of Ebola then the English NHS won’t be able to cope , for we only have three isolation beds in the country.

    But never mind we are told that Ebola is difficult to catch ( though Doctors and Nurses seem to go down with it like flies) , and we have the systems in place to keep it out ( though reports suggest the controls at Heathrow are lax) , and as said we have the facilities to look after the patients , which amounts to three beds.

    Like all the other diseases we have been enriched with that the political establishment have been complacent about, I have no confidence in the establishment’s warm words, and fear the only thing to keep Ebola out of the country will be down to dumb luck.

  8. Matt
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    In my experience socialists tend to run public services in the interests of their employees rather than those who use the services. I doubt the SNP is different. It simply emerges naturally from giving too much influence to the unions.
    They are however very good at creating fear of the alternatives.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Banking, utilities and transport all ran for the benefit of a few employees at the top who do not use the services and in many cases not even the shareholders except those employees at the top with shares. All from public funds.
      You could be right on that one. Socialists. What are they like giving all the power to the unions?
      The reality is that the lack of union influence has lowered wages conditions and has led to this situation as well as public funds subsidising poverty wages paid by very profitable companies for millions of low paid workers via the tax credit and benefit system.
      Square that one off and get back to us with some sense instead of right wing drivel.

      • Matt
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        I’m not convinced myself on having private companies running things on behalf of the state. It’s not a free market system or a state system and often shows the weaknesses of both. It can work, but only if there is genuine competition and one must be very careful when deciding the criteria for selecting the private companies to do the job.

        Banking, utilities and transport are all suffering from a mass of wrong headed government intervention.
        The investment banks, as our host has pointed out, could have been allowed to fail, with the state covering the resulting losses of simple account holders. Expensive, but not as bad as the mess Brown created instead. This would have shown the banking industry that if they screw up, they have to live with the consequences, but maintained public confidence in high street banking.
        Utilities and transport are being run in the supposed interests of the environment rather than those who depend on the service. Not quite unions this time, but greens, who seem to me to be largely cut from the same cloth.

        In the absence of unions and daft regulation, people are paid according how how much the work they do is worth. Not morally, but pragmatically. Pay goes up when there is a skills shortage and goes down when there is an over-supply of skills. It’s not complicated. If one wishes to be better paid, one has to train in an area where there is currently a skills shortage. Unions don’t understand this and attempt to bully employers into paying more usually using some kind of brinkmanship. It doesn’t usually work, except in the public sector when Labour are in government as they gain extra leverage from the fact that they fund the party.

        Genuine competition is the key to value for money for customers in all things. This is usually what emerges when the government and the unions stay out of things. A good example is the price of computer software. Computer hardware has been getting cheaper for decades because there has always been healthy competition. Software started to get cheaper when Apple and the open source crowd got competitive with Microsoft and Adobe.

        Really, after the repeated abysmal failure of socialism and big government over the last century, why are we still even discussing this? Okay so small state capitalism doesn’t produce perfect societies. Some things are not really fair. But the economies grow which benefits everybody and all socialist systems ultimately collapse into chaos and death. How many times do we have to try socialism before we give up on it.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Pay does not go up when their is skills shortage. There is a skills shortage in a number of areas in particular engineering /building and pay has remained stagnant for a number of years. What you forget is that pay has not risen in line with productivity and many jobs require little skill and much labour such as the service industries. No matter how much profit they make they exploit the over supply of labour. Which is wrong when the taxpayer has to subsidise low wages often from companies paying low wages for skilled work and putting their workers in floating hotels and the like.
          The bosses seem to have good unions would you not agree. No free market forces for them just socialism for the rich.
          Should I retrain a surgeon or take to the stage?

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      If the unions were that influential in the NHS then nurses wouldn’t be so poorly paid and working under such frightful conditions. Nor would their jobs be undercut by cheap foreign labour.

      No. The NHS has become the primary industry within our socialist state. The equivalent of soviet tractor factories. The public live in fear of its removal.

      It’s not the unions which have the power but Labour and the BBC. They have made it so that to interfere with the NHS is to risk electoral suicide. The NHS keeps Labour in (or close to) office and the Tories in check – they daren’t touch it.

      It is part of our dependency culture. Far from making us a confident people it is one of the devices which has been used by Left wing politicians to strike fear into us and keep us weak – economically and psychologically.

      • Matt
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure that ascribing something to Labour rather than the unions makes any sense. Labour are the political representatives of the public sector unions. That’s their job. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Perhaps some people would like the public sector unions to be in charge of the country. Not me as despite working in the public sector I refuse to join them and take pride in crossing their picket lines.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Let’s put it this way, Matt.

          Do you think that Labour would behave any differently towards the NHS if the unions ceased to exist ?

          I don’t.

          The NHS (and the welfare system in post industrial Britain) is what gives Labour its whole raison detre’ – and the increasingly leftist Tory party too !

          • Matt
            Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            If the unions ceased to exist so would the labour party.
            I still think Conservatives will find their way back.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        The state sector (with pensions included) are 50% better paid than the 80% that work in the private sector. Pay in the health service is not that bad. About £18K to £32K plus a good pension.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          Nurses pay that is.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 31, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Nurses earn 9 -16k in the private sector and the rest earn even less. Not real. Minimum wage is 13k which you are against.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Just another example of the English taxpayer subsidising the Scottish. Mind you, with the amount of money raked in from prescription charges on the English only. I expect there’s bit spare to spend on this case.

    • Jagman84
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I think that it has more to do with the concentration of ‘flagship’ medical services in the South East of England and London in particular. Such patient movements are thus inevitable.

  10. JoeDM
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The NHS is worldclass at the sexy hi-tech stuff as I know from family experience. The problem is when you get on to the general wards or in the geriatric units where clearly the NHS is not fit for purpose.

    • matthu
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Not always so world class at the sexy high-tech stuff.

      Witness the little boy who had to be taken abroad by his parents (and in the process had to survive a European Arrest Warrant) before being able to receive any proton beam therapy.

  11. English Pensioner
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    How many more serious cases of other types are transferred to England because the Scottish Health Service hasn’t invested in the necessary high tech equipment? In Scotland, the Health Service seems to have spent money on political measures which look good to the majority, such as free hospital car parking. But, if they don’t provide facilities for dealing with the most serious cases, they are not providing a full health service.

    Elsewhere I read that “Queen Nicola” said that “Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared.” Yes, she’s arranged to shift any problems to England.
    I hope the Scottish Health Service is charged for both the RAF and NHS costs.

    Reply Indeed, Scotland depends here on England’s NHS and the Union’s military for transport, which will be expensive.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      From a program I watched on TV the treatment of Ebola isn’t hi tech at all.

      The treatment is mainly the administration of saline fluids and cleaning of the patient.

      The equipment includes simple barrier tents, clothing and disinfectant.

  12. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Bad management simply means bad business and operations. Quality Systems…..starts with the top management/owner.

    Don’t have to use the railways thank god. Will have to shortly I suspect as roads get ever congested in the same places.

    NHS…could be simple/sweet, etc ed Dread dying in one as my mother did.

    Soon as this country gets a bit more disciplined in its management the better…don’t think so?

    If anybody has seen Interview (Sony/N. Korea) you will easily note that the USA lowers itself much further. And the Obama fool sanctions it! No worry though…the dull heads in UK will swiftly copy.

  13. Colin Hart
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Begs a few other questions:

    How many NHS staff are off saving lives in West Africa? Who is paying for them (and their replacements)? What impact is their absence having on domestic services already said to be at breaking point?

  14. Bazman
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Have you all squared off immigration with low wages and no employment rights yet? Immigrants being the only ones who are willing and able to work for these wages and conditions thus if you want no minimum wage, minimum employment rights and laws by default you must have a supply of desperate people and the only ones who are this desperate are immigrants, so by default low wages low tax take are supplied by migrants. Do you all now see in your deluded right wing world that the two are linked or are you all to simple to see past you own deluded ideology?
    Immigrants are just more hard working their hard work cost it dear it seems by benefit payments or employer subsidy as as it should be known for this work. The rest of the population just refuse to do this work for a pittance further adding to the cost.
    You believe they should be made as desperate as immigrants? Interesting. They should try this for the idle in the immigrants home countries. They do hence the number of migrants….and poor.

    Reply I do not seek low paid labour – I want to see a productive well paid workforce, with most of the jobs going to people already established here.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      hard working eh? and those are figures from two years ago

    • Bazman
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Low costs paid for by low wages and minimum rights increasing profits are very much right wing Tory ideology and immigrants are the only ones willing and able to work for these rates. The correction being the trickle down effect.Thus large contributions to Tory coffers from employers to facilitate this. They do not give this money for no returns. Costing the taxpayer of which they are often not. As I said Square that one off right whinners especially UKIP supporters. You cannot and you can only hide this so much, logically leading to the conclusion increased desperation of the population currently here must be the next step.
      When you come out into the open the election will be a whitewash for you all. Hence to hiding and lies.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Bazman – It also gives Labour their underclass and dependency class, without which they have no purpose.

      • Bazman
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        The dependency class being bankers and their rich chums too? You have to ask why we have this poor dependency class. The reason being that they are given to much money and do not need to work is your and the rights deluded fantasy. Most benefit recipients work and the rest are pensioners. A real problem for your views.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Comrade Baz Jong-Un

      Remove your tin foil hat and engage with reality.

      Immigrants are paid just the same as locals they have exactly the same workers rights. A large number of immigrants actually create jobs here for locals.

      Where I live in Kent, socialism has been a massive boost to our economy.

      French socialism that is, since Hollande introduced the top rate of tax ( beloved of Mr Milliband) more than 160 French entrepreneurs have relocated their businesses to my area and are employing mostly ( 95% + ) local, English workers.

    Posted December 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    One should have grave reservations about sending any soul with such a thing as Ebola into an area of high density population.It is the NHS’s extremely modern break with the very central idea of “isolation”.

    NHS staff treating the patients and the public at large are in effect expected to forget all their schooling, all their higher education, all their training, all information previously given by every Microbiology authority on the planet and accept the Creationist Adam and Eve interpretation of Life. That is, that a virus never mutates, it does not evolve despite frightening high levels of replication; that it is impossible for it to change its method of delivery to humans from “Via bodily fluids ” to “Airborne “. We should all all pray that the numerous varieties of Ebola in existence even now have come into existence solely by something akin to God’s desire to give us choice.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Same as the nhs routine of having all blood tests done on a production line in hospitals, all those ill people spreading germs around the hospitals!

      If blood tests were taken where the need was identified then far less waste of patients time and far less germ spreading

  16. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I, of course, wish the nurse a speedy recovery. I was slightly surprised / amazed to hear the description of the transfer of the patient. A fleet of ambulances was mentioned and a military transport flight down to London – who knows how many people were involved and what the cost was. No doubt Police resources were used too escorting the ambulances and clearing a route. Truly, the mind boggles. We seem to have unlimited amounts of money! Hurrah? Or are we completely out of touch with reality as we spend borrowed money like water – to be paid back by the next 10 generations.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      A bit like tanks parked outside Heathrow during a terrorist alert.

      Done for political effect.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Off topic a little

    I see from News reports today that the Government believes there is prescription fraud of about £230 Million per year.

    The solution proposed, is to invest in a large computer system (at £ Millions of cost) so that Pharmacists can check (thus more work and costs for them) on each prescription to validate, free or not.

    At the moment few checks are carried out, which I can verify, as in all of my years, I have never been asked for proof of over 60 years of age.

    Given Doctors already have this information on all patients records (Date of Birth, etc)

    Why not a simple addition to the software in surgeries, so that at the time of the Doctors printing your prescription, it says automatically “Free of Charge’ due to age or treatment for life.

    Why do it the complicated and expensive way, which still has the opportunity for fraud if no double checks carried out by the Pharmacy.

    Its not as if the Government does not have form on Computer system failures which waste billions is it !

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Diabetic patients get free prescription s checking an insulin script patient has applied for exception is a waste of everyone’s time, as an easy example

    • sm
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      We must look at health in group terms, looking after individuals properly, invariably means we look after our own collective interests.

      The harder questions that must be asked. Are we intentionally under a screen of incompetence trying to bring ebola to the UK? I suggest sending the Senior Management CEO etc of the NHS as aides to accompany the volunteers back on the return flights. They should in the seat next to them. I am sure it will concentrate minds wonderfully.

      A Swiss firm has a diagnostic test with a 3 hr result? Surely we should screen all our people prior to their returning & using mass public transit and aeroplanes where the air is recirculated over a long period of time.

  18. hefner
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    How low can you fall to score political points!
    Have you heard the report that the “screening” in Heathrow was at best cosmetic? Couldn’t this be linked to the ever diminishing state pushed forward by neo liberals?

    I am looking forward to the day when UK will be finally out of the EU, and following the emergence of an English Parliament, when all the small-minded little ingerlanders will be at least free to show the world what they are really worth: not much, I would guess.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Clearly you didn’t notice the SNP politicians declaring that they were bullied, cajoled and run by politicians from London, and that generally Scotland resented being run by London. Then suddenly it is ok to use London, and send your patients there, when one member of the population, however poorly, contracts a virus. Talk about biting off the hand that feeds you!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      I take your slants and jibes with good grace. For what value do those words mean to me coming from someone belonging to a conquered people.

      I too look forward to the day when we, the English, are free of the EU. I say the English, not out of some vain nationalism, as I do not regard myself as a nationalist, but because all the so called nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales and the whole of Ireland, want to remain in the nation hating EU. Funny that ?!?!?!

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, JR, clearly you don’t fully understand that many Scots have been led to believe the SNP line that Scotland could become an independent sovereign state, a foreign country as far as the rest of the UK was concerned, BUT NOTHING WOULD CHANGE, apart of course from the things that the SNP wanted to change on behalf of the Scots.

    There was even a young woman in Glasgow telling TV reporters that she had voted “Yes” for independence because SCOTLAND WOULD STILL BE IN THE UK, so there would be no problem with it becoming independent.

    So no doubt as far as dealing with cases of ebola was concerned the SNP would tell you that NOTHING WOULD CHANGE IF SCOTLAND WAS INDEPENDENT; patients in Scotland could still be transferred to hospitals in England, which may be better equipped to deal with it because Scotland’s wealth has been drained away to subsidise England; and anyway the policy is ultimately being set by the EU and not by the Westminster government, and of course an independent Scotland would have been automatically welcomed into the EU with open arms and on the same favourable terms that the present UK enjoys, without any additional requirements being imposed.

    The fact that the SNP’s forecasts for Scotland’s oil revenues have already proved to be wildly over-optimistic will do little or nothing to discredit them, as always they have an answer for that as well, and as usual it is the Westminster government which is to blame, and no doubt may Scots will continue to believe them on that and other things.

  20. JoeSoap
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I think you have to be pretty small-minded to scream for independence then act totally dependent at the first sign of trouble. That oil price isn’t looking too good either, is it?

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Some other chickens coming home to roost:

    “Tories used Scotland as ‘poll tax guinea pig’”

    “SCOTLAND was used for an “experiment” and “trail blazer” with the poll tax by the Thatcher government, newly released papers have indicated.”

    “… senior Tory figures – including former chancellor Nigel Lawson – have always insisted that the decision to introduce in Scotland in 1989 a year earlier than England and Wales was just to avoid another rates revaluation.

    However, the government papers from 1985 published today by the National Archive reveal how the Scottish Conservatives and then Scottish secretary George Younger persuaded Mrs Thatcher to introduce the community charge – known to most as the poll tax – rather than an alternative levy based on property.

    The papers also include a memo by Oliver Letwin – then one of Margaret Thatcher’s senior policy advisers, now a Cabinet Office minister – warning about the electoral impact of the community charge on England and Wales.

    But he noted: “We believe that [Scottish Secretary] George Younger may be offering a way out of this dilemma. He is clearly keen to use Scotland as a trail-blazer for the pure residence charge.”

    Mr Letwin went on to describe the decision to introduce the poll tax a year early in Scotland as “the Scottish experiment” and he noted that until the effects were seen in Scotland “you [Mrs Thatcher] cannot be sure whether a radical move of this sort would be politically sensible”.

    He also suggested that “a sudden change would not be as dramatic in Scotland as they would be in England and Wales.””

    • Bazman
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Lets hope a charge to see the doctor is introduced as the new Tory Pool Tax for not having a swimming pool with same results. Rgresive taxation is only fair as the poor use the most of the services provided by taxes of course, except subsidising business and the rich that is.

  22. gumpy Goat
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    how to win and influence friends in Scotland John!!!

  23. agricola
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Maybe IDS is planning to use the money he saves on not paying winter fuel allowance to expats in Spain and France to fund the deficiencies in the Scottish health service. The sum is derisory but the principal is not. Those that get it and are about to lose it have paid for it in their NI contributions. The total sum paid to Spain is £8,742,000. The lie that IDS bases his decision on is that it is not cold in Spain or France in winter. believe me it can be very cold.

    When you consider the sums that CMD insists on handing out to despots around the World in the name of overseas aid £12 BILLION at the last count and the £12BILLION plus extras they ask for to the EU I conclude that the man is mind bogglingly crass. Then lets compare the hand outs you can claim as an immigrant legal or illegal with that which they pay pensioners who have contributed to UK society all their lives. Their attitude is utterly scandalous.

    My suggestion is that pensioners are possibly the largest identifiable grouping in the UK, when added to those who have moved out of CMD’s socialist paradise. They are a formidable voting group. I would like to see any political party that respects what their contribution to the UK has been in the past to take serious steps to harness their vote in May. For sure it will not be the Lib/Dem, Con, Lab. conspiracy which holds them in contempt.

  24. ian wragg
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    (figures about numbers of certain groups of migrants removed ed) Tell me again John how mass immigration is required to pay our pensions>
    As I write, France is generating 1.28% of its power from wind (0.9GW) and exporting
    1.75GW to us whilst importing 4.65GW from Germany.
    Clearly it is getting German power cheap to stabilise their system whilst making a financial killing exporting to Britain.
    Update me John on how wind is going to keep the lights on after you have shutdown the remainder of our coal stations.

    Reply I am an opponent of relying on dear wind energy

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Should read 90%.

  25. Qubus
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Mr Redwood. Once again, you hit the nail on the head.

  26. Iain Moore
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Typical BBC , asks everybody about English devolution, other than English people. Today they are asking Alistair Darling to give his opinion on English devolution.

  27. Martin
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  28. Jon
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    And the NHS is meant to be devolved. The SNP chose to ignore that and instead get their followers worked up over the 30 year rule documents that were issued. Oddly we see Nicola Sturgen defending the UK Barnett formula as there was some criticism that it was overly generous to Scotland. Somewhat contradictory for the independence lot.

    They say they would form a coalition of sorts with Labour at Westminster. Have Labour thought how the English might react to that? Labour may want their Scottish MPs to vote on English matters but most of their MPs are in England pursuing an anti English policy looking to team up with the SNP to suppress the English view.

    I hope we get an English Parliament, populated by MPs rather than the second tier they have in Wales and Scotland.

  29. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The question is why should NHS nurses be exposing themselves (and us) to a potential risk from Ebola? – the last time I checked we had a national NOT international health service. The stupidy of exposing this nurse, her colleagues, airline staff etc. to this contagion is staggering. Unfortunately because of our failure to confront political correctness, this view will gain little traction in the media.

    The first duty of the state is to it’s own citizens not those of Africa.
    As usual we are meddling in matters that have nothing to do with us and getting our fingers burnt. etc ed

  30. zorro
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s a shame that arguments about health always seem to degenerate to some of our fellow bloggers suggesting that any alternative to the NHS would lead to people dying horribly in the streets without any care, and being carelessly steeped over by rich people…. So, I shall leave it at that, apart from saying that there are other options than the US system….

    On a separate subject, well done to John for topping the Conservative Parliamentarian of the Year at Conservative Home. Well deserved because of your consistent critique of EU policy/Foreign policy and trying, often in vain, to point out the blindingly obvious to colleagues in government. You may not be able to influence from within government, but as you can see, you can have an important effect from the outside too.


    • Mark B
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      I would second that.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        So would I, well done JR.

  31. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    It is the competition not the cooperation which is spoiling the NHS. Professional and political egos are so puffed up that the patients are led to believe that a handful of inexperienced Dr’s are the only ones who matter, because arrogantly they themselves say so. No one can say that they have knowledge except those who the system chooses to recognize, despite others qualifications.A suggestion is made that knowledge is somehow telepathically given to us and we were working for many years with an empty space for those recently at university ready to fill.
    25 years ago when we trained our own and jobs were there for are own this sort of arrogant supercilious attitude did not exist. Unfortunately a hierarchy has arisen which negates all knowledge except from a few who are able to employ.
    Nurses and Doctors who have completed a few modules( and it is not their fault as the system works this way) are put in positions and their clinical knowledge in put above 30- 40 years learning and practice endorsed by academia who think that 3 months content in a module is superior to many years professional ongoing learning.Can anyone see why these put downs have an impact on patient care except me?

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      grammar ‘our’ own

  32. Lithgae Dave
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Using a deadly illness to score political points. Disgraceful.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Not disgraceful, just ill-conceived.

      On the other hand the lies told by the SNP are disgraceful.

  33. Stevie
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink


    With respect, this is nonsense.

    There are so many arguments against independence, but this one is beneath you. The argument against independence is won and we now need to mend bridges that allow justice for Scotland and England. Telling them why they must vote no, when they already have, is not good politics in my opinion.

    Reply We have to argue this all over again in May when the SNP hope to win many eats on an independence ticket.

  34. Seth the pig farmer
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The planned management of all Ebola cases was to send them to the only specialist unit in the UK which is in England. It would have been the case if the patient had lived in NI or Wales too. It has got nothing to do with devolution, some issues are still managed at a UK level. I imagine that there is a internal cost transfer within the different regions of the NHS to cover the cost of provision.

    The more fundamental issue is why there are so few specialist beds in the UK? If we end up with more than a few (even suspected) cases, we will soon be overwhelmed.

  35. Monty
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    It seems more important to me to get the protocols sharpened up, for UK medics and journalists associating with Ebola patients in Africa. In particular, letting them fly home shortly after their potential exposure, and shilly shally onto commercial flights and through our busiest airports, looks like idiocy to me.
    They should be kept in a safe quarrantine compound in the country of operation, until they are demonstrably free of not only ebola, but any other contagion that could cause havoc here. That should be a condition of them being allowed to go out there, and if it scuppers the project, then that project has to be scrapped, because it turns out the medics aren’t committed enough to do it properly after all.
    It’s absolutely risible that they go straight from the hot zone, to the point where potential transmission is maximised, and tracing of all direct contacts becomes impossible.
    It’s no good medics telling the public that this disease is “almost impossible to catch”, while one of their own, wrapped from head to toe in protective gear, has caught it and then taken it half way round the world. The affected nurse should receive all the care and support to help her recover, but the Chief Medical Officer whose lofty arrogance allowed this fiasco to happen, should be fired.

  • 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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