Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cameron Misleads Country Over Welsh NHS in PMQs

Last Wednesday in the first Prime Minister Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons for weeks, as Cameron sought to avoid facing the opposition and the country about his government's failings.

Ed Miliband made all his questions about the NHS and as usual David Cameron avoided answering them, or perhaps more to the point he chose to give answers to questions that he was not asked.

In full arrogant flow, Cameron said "we will not take the advice [on the NHS] of the party opposite" even though Labour, (the party opposite) when in government actually saved the NHS from total destruction. They had the unenviable Herculean task of finding the billions of pounds investment the NHS needed to reverse the 18 years of successive Conservative government chronic underinvestment and virtual terminal decline which began in earnest when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and continued unabated under former Conservative PM John Major.

If Labour had not won the general election of 1997 and helped pulled the NHS up by its boot straps and massivley increase investment and if it was not for the unselfish dedication and unending hard slog of health care professionals and workers between 1997 and 2010, we would have without doubt lost our NHS years ago.

During last Wednesday's PMQs exchanges between Cameron and Miliband, the prime minister made a number of accusations about the NHS in Wales rather than answer the actual questions he was asked, (which were about Accident and Emergency Departments in England) trying instead to divert attention away from the horrendous problems now emerging in the NHS in England by trying to infer that the problems in the NHS in Wales were somehow the fault of Labour.

What David Cameron did not want to tell the public was that if the NHS has been cut in Wales, it is because they had no choice, the Welsh National Assembly can only spend the money it is given by Westminster. Cameron accused the Assembly of cutting the NHS budget by 8%, yet it was  the Coalition government who cut overall funding to Wales by a massive £2bn. Also the prime minister was lying (yet again) as faced with an overall cut in funding the WA cut spending on health by 1% , not 8% as the PM said in the House of Commons. The WA can only deploy the money it is given by central government and faced with spending money on health or education, the Assembly chose to increase spending on education as over the tenure of the previous Labour government Wales had seen spending on health trebled.

There is absolutely no denying that the NHS in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh government in Cardiff, but nevertheless it still has to work on the funding it is given to it by Westminster, and rather than use the NHS in Wales as a political football, perhaps the prime minister should acknowledge the problems his government are causing to the Welsh NHS with their massive funding cuts, rather than immediately go on the defensive and go to his default position of attack? After all he has been in government for almost three years now and he cannot continue to blame everything on the previous Labour government, especially when Labour increased funding to Wales and the Tories have cut it!

The problems that Wales are having within the NHS today are specifically because the coalition government have cut funding and the prime minister is being deeply dishonest to suggest otherwise. Further, the problems that Wales are having within their NHS are starting to emerge all over England, again as a direct result of the Tory controlled coalition government's policies. People should look to the problems in the Welsh NHS and heed them as a warning and unite and try to stop them happening in England.

Also Cameron has once again been caught out in a blatant lie!

Cameron may like to suggest he is increasing spending on the NHS but the facts are that he and his government are not only responsible for funding cuts in Wales, they are responsible for real term funding cuts in the NHS in England. He and his government have actually cut the NHS budget for two years running and he owes it to patients, staff and the general public to go to the House of Commons and make a statement correcting his misleading statements. He also needs to stop trying to shift the blame about what his government's policies have caused to the NHS and its staff and the NHS in Wales and the Labour Assembly elsewhere, when he knows that these problems are a direct result of his policies.

Cameron Rebuked By Andrew Dilnot over public expenditure on health.

Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Andrew Dilnot CBE

Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State for Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
4 December 2012

Dear Mr Hunt


The Statistics Authority has been asked to consider, in the light of the published official
statistics, various statements made by the Prime Minister, by yourself, and on the
Conservative Party website. For example, you said in the House of Commons on 23 October
that “real-terms spending on the NHS has increased across the country”
1 and the Conservative Party website states that “we have increased the NHS budget in real terms in
each of the last two years”.
2 We are aware that there are questions of definition here. The year on year changes in real
terms have been small and the different sources, including the Department of Health Annual
Report and Accounts and the public expenditure figures issued by the Treasury, are not
necessarily exactly the same.
The most authoritative source of National Statistics on the subject would seem to be the
Treasury publication Public Spending Statistics, and I note that these figures were used in a
Department of Health Press Release in July 2012. The most recent update to those figures
was published on 31 October but the July 2012 release gives a more detailed breakdown. I
attach a note prepared by staff of the Statistics Authority summarising some of the relevant
figures from the two Public Spending releases.

On the basis of these figures, we would conclude that expenditure on the NHS in real terms
was lower in 2011-12 than it was in 2009-10. Given the small size of the changes and the
uncertainties associated with them, it might also be fair to say that real terms expenditure
had changed little over this period. In light of this, I should be grateful if the Department of
Health could clarify the statements made.

1 HC Deb, 23 October 2012, c815

I am copying this to the Cabinet Secretary, to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of
Health and to the National Statistician.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Dilnot CBE

Source: UK Statistics Authority

To date neither the prime minister or the Health Secretary have gone to the House and rectified their misleading statements, in fact the prime minister just keeps on telling the same lies and keeps on deliberately misleading the public and the Speaker allows him to get away with it.

This cut in real terms funding has led to the loss of over 7000 nursing jobs and dangerously full hospitals and over flowing Accident & Emergency Departments and will lead to the problems that Wales is currently experiencing.

Today we learn that the government are going to stop "ring fencing" the NHS, that's a joke because as we can see from the above letter from Dilnot, this government have never ring-fenced the NHS, it was all one massive lie and deliberate deception. It has also been revealed that A&E Departments in England have failed to meet their targets for 30 weeks. The government were warned months ago that the pilot schemes 111 Urgent Care hotline which replace NHS Direct, was resulting in a massive upswing of patients ending up in A & E Departments and placing a huge pressure on ambulance and fast response teams, but they did nothing. In fact I warned about it several times on this blog Here;  Here and Here

Many NHS professionals were worried about the government's intention of replacing trained NHS Direct staff with NHS 111 operators who had little or no medical experience and had often undergone just 60 hours of basic training. Andrew Lansley, the then Health Secretary said these were just pilot schemes, yet these "pilot schemes" were introduced across the country and took place without prior consultation in parliament. Since these so called schemes were introduced reports have been leaked that telephone operators unable to seek timely qualified medical opinion to help their callers have been referring them to Accident & Emergency Departments. The government has also been forced to bail out their new and troubled Urgent 111 Healthcare with £8.4 million in order to keep NHS Direct going while they try to sort out the problems that their reforms have caused in replacing NHS Direct with their confused NHS 111 version.

We are told that the government are now drawing up plans to transfer £1bn from the NHS budget into social care for the elderly, while at the same time this government who promised us faithfully there would be 'no further top down reorganisation of the NHS', before introducing reforms the biggest in the NHS 64 year history, have wasted over £3 billion on an NHS top down reorganisation that no one wanted using money could which could have been used for elderly care, instead it has been wasted and frittered away and has found its way into Tory support groups, Tory lobbying groups, Tory doning private health companies etc, all employed to find ways to privatise our NHS by stealth. Capita the huge outsourcing company who has taken over NHS Direct now known as Urgent Health Care NHS 111 has donated over £1.5 million to the Tories over a period of ten years! See HERE

The NHS is already having to find £20bn of savings, so now they will have to find a further £1bn, which will add to the already immense pressures on the NHS and this could possibly lead to further cuts in the NHS in Wales.

The radical changes introduced at the beginning of April are unlikely to be felt for a few months but when they are felt, then financial chaos could ensue and if the NHS has suddenly to find a further £1bn in costs, the implications for patients using the NHS could be dire.

The public has been catapulted into a system whereby about 30% of  CCG GPs have shares in private firms that will be bidding against the NHS for contracts. How much of this £1bn that is to be awarded to social care for the elderly is going to end up in the bank accounts of private care providers? Already these private companies have taken over from qualified community nurse teams that gave a much higher quality of care at a fraction of the price, this could lead to a further erosion of this service.The competition rules that the Tories and Lib Dems have introduced into the NHS could lead to lucrative strands of health care being cherry picked by health care companies out to make profits for their shareholders. Taxpayers money will find its way out of the NHS and into the bank accounts of shareholders, leading to further cuts in funding to the NHS as more money is taken out via the back door, the "back door" that this government aided and abetted by Liberal Democrats have opened widely for the profit making of private health companies to walk in and out of with arms full of taxpayers cash!

Yet David Cameron comes to the House of Commons and lies through his back teeth about the NHS and is allowed to get away with it.

The answer to the problems being caused in the NHS is to get this government out and allow Labour to repeal the Health and Social Care bill.

What we should all also be asking, is why our prime minister, David Cameron is consistently lying to us not just about the NHS, but about pretty much everything and why the right wing press and the broadcast media are allowing him such an easy passage!


Nick said...

the big problem Gracie is that the NHS will collapse at any time as their is no one in government in control and that well maybe the governments master plan and that's to run it so far into debt that it has to be wound up with everyone then faced with the choice of going private or bust

i may sound far fetched but the government have already got away with causing thousands of deaths in the transfer of IB claimants to ESA so in my book getting rid of the NHS and sticking it lock stock and barrel into the hands of the private sector will be very simple for them

Gracie Samuels said...

The NHS is already starting to collapse under the strain of the privatisation pressure this government are placing upon it.