EXPOSED: The Sun’s false claims that NHS spending “hasn’t gone on nursing staff”

Left Foot Forward reveals the truth behind the Tory-supporting Sun’s alarming claims about NHS spending - there were 72,000 extra nurses between 1998 and 2008.

The Sun has launched an unfounded attack on the Government’s record on the NHS. In an editorial last Friday they claimed that Labour’s increased investment in the health service “hasn’t gone on nursing staff” but “penpushers”.

This is simply wrong. According to the NHS Information Centre’s 1998-2008 Staff Overview report there have been an extra 270,000 staff – of which just 16,000 are new managers.

There have been:

• 39,000 extra doctors;
• 72,000 extra nurses;
• 18,000 extra therapists;
• 20,000 extra qualified scientists and technicians;
• 64,000 extra clinical support staff.

The other figures they quote, from a Conservative party Freedom of Information request on doctors on duty in A&E departments at night are irrelevant. The College of Emergency Medicine state that:

“Emergency Departments (ED) should have an Emergency Medicine (EM) Consultant on-call at all times”

It would be inefficient to have senior doctors sitting in empty rural emergency departments, as many of the ones cited by the paper are, but they are on hand if necessary. This is backed up by the standards from the college which outline the duties of an EM consultant:

“A significant proportion of this work will require the consultant to be present within ‘normal’ working hours, to enable engagement with other specialties and Trust management.

“An on-call EM consultant may return to the ED to provide direct senior clinical input into selected, serious cases as well as providing telephone advice on clinical, medico-legal and ethical issues.”

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