Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 March 2008

Cuts continue despite financial surpluses

AFTER YEARS of government claims that the NHS was massively overspending - forcing major cuts and closures - the Department of Health (DoH) has announced that the NHS will underspend by 1.8 billion this year.

Alison Hill

350 NHS trusts are forecasting a surplus by the end of this month, when the financial year finishes. A DoH spokesperson claimed that these surpluses are because of "sound and prudent financial planning" but NHS staff know it is more to do with below-inflation pay rises and job and service cuts.

Between April and December last year there were 1,892 job cuts in the NHS. Most involved freezing vacancies and cutting agency staff, but however they were achieved, they still put increased pressure on the remaining workforce.

And the drive to hit targets for everything has not resulted in better health care overall. The gap in average life expectancy between rich and poor is widening.

But privatisation is now the biggest threat to health care in Britain. The two most dangerous examples of this are the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs).

The PFI has become a huge burden because of the inflexible, expensive contracts with private companies. NHS trusts enter into these on the basis of them being "affordable". But in reality they force the trusts into making service cuts and closures in a desperate attempt to continue to pay the PFI charges.

This has been made worse by the "payment by results" method of NHS resource allocation. A recent article by Allyson Pollock and Mark Hellowell exposed how the amount NHS trusts get for providing treatment assumes an amount of 5.8% of trust income spent on buildings and equipment.

But PFI capital costs are much higher. Trusts paying into major PFI schemes in 2005/6 had capital costs of 10.2% - an income shortfall of 4.4%.


ISTCs are making the situation even worse. These are supposed to provide extra capacity for the NHS. But they are really an easy, government-subsidised way for private companies to gain a foothold in the health service.

The total cost of the ISTC programme will be 5 billion by 2010. And there is very poor accounting of how this is spent. There are no accurate records kept of the number of beds available or even the effectiveness of the treatment the ISTCs provide.

The private companies involved have a huge safety net from us taxpayers. Not only do they get direct subsidies, but health trusts have to pay for treatment they have contracted for with the ISTCs, whether that treatment is supplied or not.

When there was a delay in opening an ISTC run by Capio, Oxfordshire primary care trust still had to pay Capio 1 million for patients they should have treated during the delay! Even the risks of clinical negligence claims are borne by the public sector.

The NHS has been filleted and starved of funds, to serve the best bits up to private companies, for them to make super-profits. All good New Labour policy, but time they were stopped in their tracks.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 12 March 2008:


End the occupation

Gaza - end the bloodshed!

Iraq, Afghanistan: The bitter fruits of war and occupation

School student strikes

US & UK students in anti-war protest

Workplace news and analysis

Fight for a living wage!

Coastguards strike

Land Registry votes to reject pay offer

Wales further education pay dispute: Vote 'yes' in strike ballot

Shelter workers' strike success

Prison officers reject pay offer

March for pay justice

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Derby nurses fight PFI pay cuts

Hospital trusts... who makes the decisions?

Cuts continue despite financial surpluses

Post Office closures

Stroud - Save our post office!

London - Fight the closures

Socialist Party feature

World's poor hit by rocketing food prices

International socialist news

New period of workers' militancy in Germany

Socialist Party review

Profit motive and the whispering wind


Home   |   The Socialist 12 March 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleCarlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleToo much to cross the Mersey

triangleTories wreck our NHS


triangleNHS secret cuts plans exposed

triangleNHS cyberattack: budget cuts and spy agency to blame

triangleCuts, profit and bureaucracy lead to 50% rise in mental health deaths

triangle40% of GPs plan to quit - reverse all NHS cuts and sell-offs!


triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

triangleStrike to save our NHS!

triangleTragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk


trianglePlans to bring A-levels back to Knowsley abandoned

triangleCarlisle NHS privateers leave patients at risk

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Justice for Tube cleaners demo



Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike



Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP



Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish



No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!



Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg


John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation



Join the Orgreave Halloween rally



Workplace news in brief


Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights


Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs



Too much to cross the Mersey


Royal Mail

Set for national strike action



Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice