In other news… the NHS, human rights and levels of spending

Liberal Democrats seek changes to health reformThe Observer on the aftermath of the party’s spring conference vote on the NHS.

“Nick Clegg has just won a powerful victory over the Conservatives, appointing a Bill of Rights commission which is certain to leave the ECHR intact” – The Spectator has the news.

And in The Independent, Dominic Lawson is unimpressed with some of the comments made about public spending:

As Dr Tim Morgan points out in his incisive Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet, Five Fiscal Fallacies, “No one should imagine that the Coalition’s plans amount to a major reversal of past spending increases. By 2015-16, and expressed at 2009-2010 values, public spending (of £647bn) will remain higher than in 2008-2009 (£640 bn), let alone 1999-2000 (£438bn). In turning the spending clock back to 2008-2009, government will be reducing real-terms expenditure by £22bn, a small fraction of the previous escalation.” This should be borne in mind when the public sector trade union leaders talk of a “massacre” of public services and of the “abolition” of the welfare state – and also when the bloated panjandrums of the defence establishment use similarly apocalyptic terms: on the Treasury’s own figures, welfare spending will be 34 per cent higher, in real terms, in 2014-15 than it was in 1999-2000, and defence spending will be 36 per cent higher.

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2 Comments

  • It’s worth reporoducing Tory MP Sarah Woollaston’s warnings about all this since they reinforce the need for changes to the economic regulator, Monitor.

    The Tory MP and former doctor Sarah Wollaston warned in the Sunday Telegraph that the reforms could destroy the NHS. She wrote: “If Monitor, the new economic regulator, is filled with competition economists with a zeal for imposing competition at every opportunity, then the NHS could be changed beyond recognition. It is no use “liberating” the NHS from top down political control only to shackle it to an unelected economic regulator. We have moved from a position of widespread support from patient groups and the professions for the health reforms to one of outright hostilityShe feared that GP commissioning boards could end up being run by managers being sacked from primary care trusts. She wrote: “I cannot see that it makes sense to foot the bill for redundancies for the entire middle layer of NHS management only to be re-employing many of them within a couple of years”

  • Matthew Huntbach 23rd Mar '11 - 3:10pm

    If this is what Dr Woollaston thinks, then why did she agree to stand as a Tory candidate? She is basically saying here that she disagrees with what is now (though it wasn’t historically) the core of Tory philosophy – that there is nothing that cannot be improved by competition for cash profit.

    On health care, I would prefer to be treated neither by a practitioner who stands to make a profit depending on which treatment is used – this applies either if the treatment is on the basis that you pay the costs for what you get (so the practitioner chooses the most expensive option as s/he gets more profit from it) or it is on the basis that the practitioner gets a fixed amount for my health care (so s/he chooses the cheapest option in order to get the most profit). I would much prefer a practitioner who chooses what s/he considers is truly the best option for my health, without there being any profit motive either way.

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