Once again in last week’s Journal, our MP Nick Boles, is trying to portray himself as a friend of our NHS and in so doing makes the outrageous claim that spending is “increased to keep pace with inflation”.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies states that once adjusted for age, the NHS is being cut by nine per cent between 2010 and 2019, while suffering five years of annual four per cent “efficiency saving” cuts with the same for another five years, causing a £30 billion funding gap.
Age UK says 800,000 fewer people get any community care, plus many are receiving worse care. GPs’ funding has been cut and NHS England admits there is a need for 16,000 more. Given the severity of the financial squeeze on our NHS and the costly reorganisation, the staff are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances despite being regularly attacked in some of the tabloid press.
Bids have been invited to run cancer and end-of-life services across Staffordshire by July 2015. Up for grabs is £1.2 billion worth of contracts over 10 years. These frontline services are likely to end up in the hands of private companies and if there is a tame reaction to this, then almost certainly it will lead to an acceleration of the privatisation of our NHS. I wonder where Nick Boles stands on this issue, given the promises the Conservative Party gave at the last election.
As I write the Commons is debating a hastily added clause 119, which has been tacked on to the care bill. This will allow for the closure of any hospital or A&E at 40 days’ notice, with no meaningful local consultation. Even local clinical commissioning groups will have no say over the fate of services they commission, which makes a mockery of putting GPs in control.
Given that this could happen to our local Grantham Hospital, I think it is incumbent upon Nick Boles to explain why he supports this, or did he, by some miracle, vote against? Update 7.30pm Tuesday – this legislation has been passed in the Commons.