Thinking of trusting the Conservatives on the NHS in light of David Cameron's promises on the health service? If so, perhaps you ought to think again.
Thinking of trusting the Conservatives on the NHS in light of David Cameron’s latest promises?
If so, perhaps you ought to think again.
Here are 20 reasons why those who value the National Health Service should sooner drink poison than trust Dave to look after it.
1) The establishment of the NHS was strongly opposed by the Conservative Party. As Labour health minister Nye Bevan put it,” the Conservatives voted against the National Health Act, not only on the second but on the third reading. I do not see why we should forget this”.
2) In 2009, health secretary Jeremy Hunt co-authored a book which called for the NHS to be dismantled, calling it “no longer relevant”.
3) The Conservative Party manifesto of 2010 said (p47):
“We will stop the forced closure of A&E and maternity wards, so that people have better access to local services, and give mothers a real choice over where to have their baby, with NHS funding following their decisions.”
In 2012 the coalition tried to close the A&E ward at Lewisham Hospital but was defeated in the courts.
4) Before the 2010 General Election, the Conservatives promised “no more top down reorganisations” of the NHS. David Cameron said that “With the Conservatives there will be no more of the tiresome, meddlesome, top-down re-structures that have dominated the last decade of the NHS.”
Upon taking office, the coalition embarked on the biggest reorganisation of the NHS in its 62 year history at a cost of a cool £3bn (remember, too, that the government was at the time saying there was “no more money left”).
5) The Tory-led coalition is making £20 billion worth of cuts to the health service which they have dressed up as efficiency savings.
6) Real-terms spending on cancer declined from a record high of £5.9bn in 2009-10 to £5.7bn in 2012-13.
7) Under the coalition waiting times have risen to their worst level for six years, with 3.2m people now waiting for treatment.
8) 50 million patients will be turned away from GP surgeries next year because of government underfunding, according to the Royal College OF General Practitioners.
9) The NHS has been forced to axe 4,000 senior nurses since the Tory-led coalition came to power.
10) Operations to replace hips, knees and cataracts are being rationed in certain areas of the country, with elderly people having to either go without or pay.
11) 62 Tory MPs and 63 Tory Lords have links to companies involved in the provision of private healthcare.
12) NHS hospitals are now so short staffed on public holidays they are paying £150 an hour for nurses to work.
13) Under the coalition the number of family doctors per 100,000 people has fallen to 66.5 – down from 70 in 2010.
14) The coalition put £400m less into GP services in 2012 than Labour did in its final year in office, according to research by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
15) The Health & Social Care Act 2012 removed the government’s duty to provide comprehensive health care. It now only has to promote healthcare and the health secretary is no longer responsible.
16) According to an investigation by the Sunday Post, 23,000 overnight beds have disappeared from NHS wards in the past four years.
17) In May, it was reported the NHS had breached a cancer waiting times target for the first time since they were introduced in 2009.
18) The number of overdue smear tests has rocketed under the coalition, with 360,000 more women overdue cervical cancer screening compared to three years ago.
19) In the week ending June 15, 297,527 people attended major A&Es – the highest number in any week since records began four years ago.
20) The NHS inevitably faces a ruinous financial crisis by 2015/16 unless it receives a significant financial injection, according to a report from The King’s Fund. “It is now a question of when, not if, the NHS runs out of money,” said John Appleby, chief economist at The King’s Fund and lead author of the report. “Without significant additional funding, this will lead to rising waiting times, cuts in staff and deteriorating quality of care.”Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.