Tuesday, 22 May 2012

All in it together?

I make no apologies for returning to my concerns about what the Government is doing to our NHS.

After David Cameron promised ‘no top-down re-organisation of the NHS” and Nick Clegg promised a “bonfire of the quangos”, we now find ourselves in the biggest top-down re-organisation the NHS has ever seen and the creation of new quangos, whose spending powers swamp all the other quangos put together.

Meanwhile, waiting-times for treatment are continuing to rise, month-by-month. This government inherited a decade of falling waiting-times, year-on-year. Since Cameron, Clegg and Lansley took control they have shot up.

Between May 2010 and March 2012, the number of patients who have waited more than 18 weeks for admission to hospital have shot up by 68% in Sheffield, 78% in Rotherham, 21% in Barnsley, 61% in Doncaster and 141% in Derbyshire.

Now, the government has announced a new funding formula in the way it distributes money to address health inequalities. You will not be surprised that, rather like the new funding formulae for local government, the outcome is that funds are being massively transferred from the poorest areas in the country – those with the greatest health needs – to the wealthiest areas.

The scale of the cuts is dramatic. Sheffield will lose nearly £73m a year; Rotherham will lose more than £64m; Barnsley will lose nearly £90m; Doncaster will lose more than £78m, and Derbyshire will lose nearly £40m.

Meanwhile, Surrey will gain more than £400m; Hampshire will gain more than £322m and Oxfordshire – partly represented in parliament by David Cameron – will gain nearly £174m.

As with the budget announcement on taxes, this government has turned “to him that hath shall be given, and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath” into a mantra to be implemented.

We’re all in it together? You must be joking.