No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron?

In a week of u-turns for the better, there was further evidence today of a u-turn for the worse - the breaking of David Cameron's pre-election pledge that there would be no frontline cuts to public services.

In a week of u-turns for the better, over the forests sell-off and housing benefit cut, further evidence today of a u-turn for the worse – the breaking of David Cameron’s pre-election pledge that there would be no frontline cuts to public services. In an interview with Andrew Marr on May 2nd last year, just days before the election, the Tory leader said:

“We’ve said which departments we will protect, and that’s the NHS, which for me and for many families in this country absolutely comes first, and it’s vitally important people know that…

“What I can tell you is any cabinet minister if I win the election, if we win the election, who comes to me and says here are my plans and they involve frontline reductions they will be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again.”

Watch it:

Yet now it has emerged that thousands of frontline NHS workers are to be sacked, with today’s Guardian reporting:

“St George’s hospital in south London announced that it was shedding 500 personnel, including nurses and – unusually – consultants, its most senior doctors. It is also closing three wards, with the loss of about 100 beds, and reducing the number of women allowed to give birth there from 4,200 to 3,000, as part of an attempt to save £55m in 2011-12…

“Meanwhile Kingston hospital in southwest London announced that it would be losing 486 staff, almost 20% of its total workforce, over the next five years. In an email to staff, its chief executive, Kate Grimes, said two key government health policies had forced the decision and warned that its action would soon be repeated by others.

“The job losses in the capital take the total of NHS jobs earmarked to disappear since 1 January to at least 3,053, with another 360 personnel put at risk of redundancy, according to research by the RCN…”

That research, by the Royal College of Nursing, shows that, as hospitals in England struggle to cope with the coalition’s £20 billion ‘efficiency drive’:

• Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals in Middlesex and Surrey are axing 440 posts;

• North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS foundation trust is also axing 440 posts;

• Southend University hospital NHS foundation trust is losing 400 jobs and closing six wards;

• In Croydon, the NHS trust is scrapping 12 elective surgery beds at its local hospital;

• NHS Oldham has closed a 28-bed community recovery unit;

• Barts is axing 630 jobs – including 250 nurses.

As Left Foot Forwad first revealed in October, the NHS faces a real terms spending cut:

“Table 2.2 of the June Budget clearly shows that the departmental expenditure limit for current spending in the Department of Health would be £101.5 billion. But Table 1 of today’s Comprehensive Spending Review sets out that the same number is £98.7 billion.

“Health spending will rise to £109.8 billion by 2014-15. In real terms, the rise from the new baseline delivers a 1.3 per cent rise. But compared to the baseline set out just four months ago, the rise turns into a cut of 1.5 per cent.

“What has happened to the missing £3 billion this year? If these are the the administrative savings, why have they not been reinvested in the NHS?”

Mr Cameron, in his infamous airbrushed poster, claimed:

“I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”

On that latter point, the numbers, and the evidence, appear to suggest otherwise.

41 Responses to “No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron?”

  1. richut

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  2. Sue Marsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eAaFF6

  3. reded

    The Daily Fail complains about Walking Coordinators paid £30k, but how much money will organised exercise save the NHS in the long term?

  4. Eva Mahar

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  5. Andrew Dodgshon

    These give the lie to Cameron’s no frontline cuts in the NHS but my wife who works in the school improvement service – another frontline service – is also being made redundant. Yet the bankers still luxuriate. What price any Tory or Lib Dem promise? None – they’re all worthless.

  6. cim

    here are my plans and they involve frontline reductions they will be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again

    …and if, after that, they still want frontline reductions, fair enough.

  7. Stephen W

    Would that be the £20 billion efficiency drive started by Labour and announced by Andy Burnham? Or is this some other £20 billion efficiency drive?

    Beyond that, yes, you’re right. Cameron should never have promised to avoid all cuts to frontline services. I remember wondering at the time what the hell he was doing, since such a thing was obviously impossible considering the need for cuts.

  8. wendy griffiths

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  9. anyleftiwonder

    Someone that talked of Broken Britain and is now smashing it to pieces is not going to worry about the demise of the NHS.

  10. Debsalini

    Nice summary, thank you.

  11. Will Straw

    Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  12. Neil Walshaw

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  13. Chris Gudgin

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Andrew Dodgshon – I presume your wife is a public servant.

    The bankers work for privately owned companies that Labour spent 13 years sucking up to with knighthoods, deregulation, huge pensions and the like.

    The bankers, who we want to do well for the forthcoming sell off of our property and since this isn’t North Korea, much as the last government would wish otherwise with it’s ID Cards and Control Orders, the bankers are free to do whatever they want.

    And rightly so in a free country…

  15. Anon E Mouse

    anyleftiwonder – When the NHS can’t look after the elderly and employs more managers than care givers I would suggest that it is already broken…

  16. Jan Bennett

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  17. lesa

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  18. downinjamaica

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  19. L DTUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  20. Sue Marsh

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eAaFF6

  21. Lefthandedlondoner

    The Guardian seems to be just repeating a Unison press release about cuts, but claiming they’re fact – see eg //www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/8859945.BREAKING_NEWS__Hundreds_of_jobs_to_be_axed_at_hospital/ – where the administration refuses to say what they’re planning.

    It’s Unison who are bandying around the 500 jobs: //www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/8859945.BREAKING_NEWS__Hundreds_of_jobs_to_be_axed_at_hospital/

    This is news, but The Guardian needs to make sure its facts are rock solid, otherwise it risks undermining its point.

  22. sean gittins

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  23. Maroulla Savage

    RT @wdjstraw: Read his lips: Watch Cameron mislead the country with his no "frontline reductions" pledge //bit.ly/eGA6A1

  24. Rocky Hamster

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eGA6A1 by @ShamikDas

  25. Jon

    Anon E Mouse

    Yes private but owned by the public now for a large part. So they should show a little restraint when public servants are being sacked. The fact that their dodgy activities led to the crash and our underwriting of the resultant debts means they should be under more control. Otherwise it will be take two in the future.

  26. UNISON East Midlands

    No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //is.gd/h6qCaC

  27. Sian Davies

    RT @UNISONEastMids: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //is.gd/h6qCaC

  28. Mr. Sensible

    I read about this in the Guardian this morning.

    My own local NHS trust is getting rid of staff, wards and beds as well.

    At the same time, the government is spending £1.8 billion on reforms that doctors, nurses, other professionals, and the public don’t want.

    People power forced the government to get rid of planns to sell off the forests, and the reforms to the NHS should be next.

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Jon – You are rewriting history I’m afraid.

    The banks are partially owned by us so I want them to do well to recover our losses when they get sold.

    The sacking of public servants has nothing whatsoever to do with the bankers and is just a simple lame Labour excuse for the fact they wrecked this countries economy. The books never balanced from 2001 onwards.

    Without exception all Labour governments end in the same way and always the losing Labour government attempts to blame someone else – “The pound in your pocket” “The global recession” etc This time they have just done it on a larger scale.

    Labour have no chance of winning in 2015 in any event – especially with the unelectable Ed Miliband floundering at the helm but unless they start admitting their mistakes they are doomed to opposition for generations…

  30. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – With the disgraceful way parts of the NHS treat their patients and the fact there are more managers than frontline staff I would have thought that your desire to see people being cared for properly outweighed your desire to create your Socialist superstate…

  31. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, in respect of that, 1 nurse told a news program recently that they were understaffed.

    How’s that situation going to improve with these cuts?

    Is what we read about on Tuesday acceptable? Of course not.

  32. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – That’s just one nurse’s opinion.

    I have recent personal experience of both a private and NHS ward in the same hospital and the differences are stark. In the NHS there were nurses talking at the main desk basically doing nothing.

    I also have two friends who work for different PCT’s and my daughter for an NHS dentist. The system is top heavy and needs reform by getting rid of unnecessary management ASAP.

    Gordon Brown created a state with huge numbers of people dependant either on benefits or work in the public sector and as has been shown it is unsustainable.

    The country is bust Mr.Sensible. The NHS is a disgracefully run organisation yet no one on the left seems to have a problem with the incompetent way it continues.

    The last Labour chancellor stated the party had discovered £11billion of waste in government spending yet was prepared to allow it to continue to reduce the debt over a longer period of time which is madness.

    Did you know that the current interest on Britain’s debt, £120million a day, would allow us to build a new primary school every hour without increasing tax by a single penny?

    Labour need to get ahead of the curve on these cuts because five years from now people will wonder why the country ever got out of control the way it did employing for example “Five a day outreach coordinators”…

  33. Steve

    you can create direct cuts indirectly eg torys put up course fees, people cant afford courses = not enough learners for courses = tutors made redundant. Realistically everthing the torys do is to preserve their place at the top of the social food change; change needs to be branch, trunk and root of the problem…the real converation … equality in society

  34. EON

    ‘no one on the left seems to have a problem with the incompetent way it continues’- not true. Many of us were dismayed by the way Labour seemed to increase the levels of bureaucracy started by the previous tory gov’t, all supposedly in order to meet the ridiculous target systems that same gov’t lauded. Unfortunately Labour picked up the baton and ran with it.

    Brown didn’t create a state dependant on benefits, again that was an unfortunate consequence (inheritance is the buzz word of the moment) of the previous tory gov’ts. experiments with slash, burn and hope. Hoping the private sector will pick up the slack is not much of an economic policy – especially as it didn’t. Creating state jobs was an answer, and one many benefitted from after the misery of the previous gov’t.. As to weather it was sustainable or other if other answers would have been found, as labour themselves knew diversification was necessary and desired, we will never know due to the greed of the private sector creating yet another financial crisis. It is always the private sector that creates world financial melt downs. Five years from now it appears with the continued sell off of everything public by the tories we will find ourselves fully at the mercy of the private sector and its continued desire for financial ruin.

  35. curmudgeon 1

    RT @leftfootfwd: No frontline cuts? Really, Mr Cameron? //bit.ly/eAaFF6

  36. Anon E Mouse

    EON – Where the councils make their cut’s is their choice. We are only going back to 2007 levels.

    Why aren’t the left up in arms over the wages of council leaders?

    The private sector does not have a desire for financial ruin – there’s no money in that and as I mention previously, Labour stated they’d found £11billion in waste yet weren’t prepared to cut it immediately.

    Waste not cut?

    Finally when I was at school we never had classroom assistants so why do we need them now?

  37. Anon E Mouse

    Steve – You want equality yet were prepared to watch 13 years of a Labour government allow the gap between rich and poor increase whilst Labour gave our money to the greedy bankers?

    The coalition have done more for the poor already with their raising of the tax threshold than Brown did by removing the 10p tax rate and Labour supporters need to nuance their argument if they want to govern again.

    (And get rid of that election losing Ed Miliband while they’re at it….)

  38. Cameron's "public sector revolution" - yet more NHS closures | Left Foot Forward

    […] Friday, Left Foot Forward outlined the catalogue of frontline cuts taking place in the health service – contradiciting David […]

  39. EON

    “Where the councils make their cut’s is their choice” – no, the choice is entirely central gov’ts. they set the agenda. Plus, the speed the cuts are being driven at is controlled by the gov’t.. It has not allowed larger councils time to re-organise and make the necessary changes in order to save money. Cutting services is unfortunately the sorry quick answer. But that’s what the tories want. They want services to be cut. They want the big society to step in, that’s what the big society is all about – the privatisation of local public services. All this talk of charities and voluntreering is a smoke screen for what they want to force through. Using the good name of charities to hide their political ideology behind is truly the worst kind of state oppression this country has ever witnessed.

    “The private sector does not have a desire for financial ruin – there’s no money in that” – then why do we keep having global economic crises? Competition always forces companies to go to the wall. The private sector is naturally greedy, it has few morals and only the strongest survive. When one fails, someone somewhere always makes money. That’s the free market economy – the equivalent of social Darwinism.

    “£11billion in waste yet weren’t prepared to cut it immediately.” – the watchword being immediately. Speed in gov’t. is not a necessity, unless like the tories you have a hidden agenda.

    I agree about classroom assistants they are a waste – in my experience they actually do more one to one teaching than the teachers, who are bogged down in all this target setting culture that has produced all this wasteful management (I’m affraid to say that was one of Thatcher’s policies Labour took and ran with).

    “The coalition have done more for the poor already ” – unfortunately VAT makes me err on the side of caution with that one.

  40. EON

    “We are only going back to 2007 levels.”

    A blatant misrepresentation of fact – public spending is returning to the same proportion of GDP as 2006-7 – but GDP has fallen between 6% and 7% during that period. This makes for a mighty hole in councils balance sheets and similar hole in that argument/lie.

  41. No frontline cuts? Now 11,000 troops face the axe | Left Foot Forward

    […] from Afghanistan. These latest cuts, coupled with the revelation last week that more than 50,000 NHS jobs faced the axe, further undermine David Cameron’s pre-election pledge there would be no […]

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