Saturday, 25 April 2015

The NHS and what the parties promise

There's a lot of activity in Yate today concerning the National Health Service. The Labour Party is holding an "NHS Day" at their pop-up shop, and members of the campaign group 38 Degrees are collecting signatures for their campaign "Save Our NHS". This level of interest shows how concerned the public are about the NHS - it's one of this country's unique and most treasured features.

It's worth looking at what the major parties have put in their manifestos about NHS funding. The respected health and social care think tank The King's Fund has looked at the size of the funding challenges facing the NHS and what the various parties are proposing in their manifesto. The latest King's Fund article says that though both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives are promising to fill the projected £8 billion funding gap, "there is a lack of clarity about the Conservative promise, which could amount to a bit more than £8 billion depending on the period the pledge covers. Importantly, with no details on the path the Conservatives will take to reach their promise, there is a worry that the bulk of the increase could come in the later rather than (as needed) earlier years of the next parliament"

Worryingly the Labour Party proposal falls far short of filling the gap (so what are they going to cut in the NHS?) - you can see how much lower the red line is in this graph from the King's Fund article, which is well worth reading in full.

So if you hear the Labour Party talking about being the defenders of the NHS, ask them how they are going to fund the shortfall. And if you hear the Conservatives saying they are matching the Lib Dem pledge, ask them for the details they still haven't provided.

Oh yes, and who came up with the idea to create the NHS in the first place? The Liberal Party. William Beveridge (who was also involved with the introduction of Old Age Pensions) wrote the Beveridge Report for the wartime government, and it was implemented by Atlee's post-war Labour government. See the BBC History website for more details.

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