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Gordon Brown’s NHS Cuts

Patients hit as NHS cash crisis forces big cutbacks

March 3rd 2010

More than a third of NHS primary healthcare trusts, which fund hospitals in England, are running deficits that have led to a cutback in surgical operations and seen calls to close casualty departments, according to a joint study by the Guardian and the thinktank Civitas.

The analysis, which used figures from the public board meetings of 100 trusts, shows the health service overspend this year is more than £130m. The Department of Health has warned trusts they cannot enter the new financial year in the red and health authorities which do not cut costs face repaying cash from next year’s budget or being subjected to central control.

The funding gap has already had an impact on patients, with GPs in Hertfordshire being told to get “approval” for a list of procedures including hysterectomies, removal of “skin lumps and bumps” and tooth extraction. Managers have advised the family doctors that in many cases “it is usually better to wait to see if symptoms resolve themselves”.

The single largest shortfall is in Enfield primary healthcare trust, which has a budget of £450m, but is in the red to the tune of £17.5m. Bosses are proposing to replace Chase Farm hospital’s A&E department with a consultant-led “urgent care centre” that will not take blue light ambulances and is open only 12 hours a day.

Although the government has said the health budget would not be cut, analysts say that even with “zero real growth” the NHS will face a shortfall of £20bn by 2013 – a gap that will grow to £38bn by 2016.

James Gubb, head of health policy at Civitas said:

“If financial control cannot be exercised in times of plenty, it does not bode well for times of famine,” he added. “With billions to effectively be cut from the NHS we are looking at huge productivity improvements to maintain today’s standards. Prudent organisations would be looking to set money aside to invest for such times.”

Stop Brown’s NHS Cuts

Mr. Brown’s short-sighted cuts and closures are damaging the NHS – we must stop them.

The NHS is an institution which binds our nation together.  In cities, towns and villages up and down the country, the family doctor surgeries and local hospitals are part of the fabric of our community.   And the doctors, nurses and support staff who work so hard to keep them going are known and trusted. 

Gordon Brown claims the NHS is safe in Labour’s hands but he has been responsible for a string of cuts to NHS services – from maternity services to nurses to spending on cancer. 

He refuses to be straight with the British public about his future plans for the NHS budget. He claims to be protecting it but the small print of Government documents reveals that he plans to cut spending on hospital buildings and equipment.  Only the Conservatives have pledged to protect total health spending.

Any protection for the rest of the NHS budget from Labour will only be for two years and is more than cancelled out by the impact on the NHS of Gordon Brown’s hike in National Insurance. 

Join our campaign to stop Brown’s NHS cuts by signing our petition today.

The Conservative commitment to the NHS

The NHS is our number one priority. We will sustain and defend the values of the NHS as a comprehensive health service, funded through taxation, available to all, free at the point of use, based on need and not ability to pay. We advocated an NHS Constitution to establish the principles of the NHS and we will maintain these, and give the NHS the consistent, coherent structure which will enable it to serve patients better.

We’ll cut the deficit not the NHS

  • The NHS faces huge challenges. The Government’s review of the NHS in England in July 2008 identified some of the major challenges facing the NHS in the 21st century. They include rising expectations, an ageing population, and often expensive advances in treatment. For the NHS to deliver more and better care, in the face of these challenges, we need to protect the health budget. But, protecting spending on its own will not be enough. We need to reform the NHS, raising productivity and efficiency to get more money to the front line. 
  • Conservatives will give the NHS the funding it needs. The Conservatives are the only party that can be trusted with the NHS. As David Cameron said back in 2006, our priority can be summed up in three letters: NHS. We will always make sure the NHS is supported with the funding it needs. An ageing population, greater expectations and new medical opportunities are putting an increasing pressure on limited resources. That’s why we have committed to real terms increases in the NHS budget every year. This will allow us to defend local services, protecting patients from cuts and closures for which there is no clinical rationale.
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