Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1002/27584
NHS: underfunded, under attack
Kick out the privatisers
Make the super-rich pay
Caroline Vincent, Leicester East Socialist Party
Surprise, surprise. Theresa May's so-called birthday pre-sent to the NHS - an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 - isn't quite the generous gesture that it seems.
In fact, it's hopelessly inadequate. So much so, that hot on the heels of this promise comes the announcement that 17 procedures currently available on the NHS now face the axe.
These "unnecessary procedures" include tonsillectomies, grommets for glue ear and treatments to ease pain. To reduce spending by £200 million, patients will be told that they have a responsibility to the NHS not to request 'useless' treatment! These procedures may have been deemed futile by NHS bosses on a cost-cutting mission, but they are treatments that improve lives.
May's pledge of a 3.4% increase in funding is insufficient. According to the National Audit Office it will only keep the health service limping along in its current, intolerably overstretched state. Far greater financial support is needed for the service to recuperate.
Local council leaders have slammed May's 'gift' as meaningless, as it is unaccompanied by an offer of extra money for social care, where there will be a funding gap of at least £2 billion by 2020. Underfunded council services, particularly public health and adult social care, directly impact on hospitals. Not only does it make it harder to keep patients from being admitted in the first place, it also makes it difficult to return home.
5 July marks the birthday of the NHS, and it's also my dad's. This year he'll be spending it at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. This isn't because he needs to be in hospital, rather it's due to lack of provision for him to receive palliative care in the community at the moment. Although he's receiving excellent, compassionate care at the BRI, he would be much happier at home with his family.
There is no doubt that both the health service and social care are in dire need of far more money in order to function, and to meet the needs of an ageing population. But the Tories' increased investment is insufficient and increasing our taxes to pay for it while the super-rich and big corporations avoid paying taxes is unjust and unacceptable.
Nationalisation of health services, including 'big pharma', alongside the banks and mega-corporations - under democratic workers' control and management - would release more than enough resources for an expanded NHS to give high quality treatment and care to all who need it.
- Feature: NHS at 70 - a fight for our lives!
In The Socialist 4 July 2018:
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