NHS: National Horror Story

The taxpayer is funding a scandalous shambles, argues the Rev Dr Peter Mullen PhD.

Thirty MPs have called on the government to increase spending on the NHS – again. Such expenditure has increased every year since the NHS was formed in 1948. This year the NHS budget is £124billion, an increase of £335 million.

Unfortunate then that the taxpayer is funding a scandalous shambles.

Hospitals can’t cope with the numbers of people seeking treatment. A&E departments are in chaos and Jeremy Hunt has announced that he has scrapped the promise that all emergency patients will be seen within four hours of their arrival. GPs are overrun. Recently one national newspaper had the headline NHS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE. This is nothing new: that headline might have been printed every day during the last fifteen years.

It makes you wonder where all the money ends up. Well, despite a significant increase in the population, and a consequent rise in the number of patients, the money certainly isn’t going to provide beds. There were 460,000 available beds in the NHS in 1948. Shockingly, barely credibly, today there are only 129,000.

Between 2003 and 2013 the number of hospital beds in England fell by 30% from 3.7 per thousand of population to 2.6. In comparison, France now has 6 beds per thousand of population and Germany has 8. Even these shocking figures do not tell the whole truth, for they are supplied by the Department of Health (DOH); and DOH propagandists for the NHS operate with some pretty dodgy definitions of what counts as a bed. For example, the DOH definition of an NHS bed declares, “A couch or trolley should be considered as a hospital bed provided it is used regularly to permit a patient to lie down rather than for merely examination or transport.” So, according to the DOH, all those patients needing urgent care and, while they are waiting, languish on trolleys in draughty corridors, stock rooms and other unsuitable locations will, I’m sure, be delighted to know that really they are accommodated in a comfy bed!

Meanwhile, the number of senior managers has increased from about 500 in the 1970s to 43,000 today. (And those are the Department of Health’s own figures). So what is all that money being spent on? Here is just one example…

The Guardian’s weekly public sector jobs supplement is regularly a hundred pages long, providing an advertising revenue which, together with the equally gargantuan educational jobs supplement, sustains in existence an otherwise financially unviable newspaper. The other week the public sector jobs supplement carried an advertisement for, “A part-time Assistant Director of Equality and Diversity at the Central Manchester University Hospitals. Salary £46,625-£57,640.”

Gosh, you must have to work hard to earn all that cash! I wonder what the Assistant Director does all day? Helpfully, The Guardian’s advert tells us:

You’ll look to continually develop (sic) programmes that deliver our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2015-2019 which sets out a powerful vision: valuing the voices of diverse people to be the best we can (sic again). It’s a chance to lead and champion the development and delivery of all aspects of our equality and diversity work. This senior role will see you deputising for the Associate Director of Inclusion and Community…”

(Good grief, how many more of these sinecures are there!)

“…including working with external partners to advocate for the areas of Access, Community Partnership and Equality. You’ll also establish strong monitoring arrangements so we can track our progress.”

All that money going to fund politically correct obsessions that have nothing to do with doctoring and nursing.

The construction of that advertisement has only a very remote relationship with the English language. Really, it’s meaningless to anyone who is not a socialist ideologue, apparatchik or superannuated bureaucrat: parasites all.

The only bit of genuine information contained in the advertisement is the very precise size of the salary. It is more than that of a state school teacher on the upper pay range in Inner London and about the same as that of a major in the British army.

So now we know where the money goes – not to provide for clinical practice but for social engineering. The part-time Assistant Director of politically-correct bulls**t gets between £46, 625 and £57, 640. I should like to know how much the full-time Director receives?

The shameful truth is that once a state bureaucracy expands so exponentially, it not only becomes unwieldy but it ceases to exist to serve the needs of those for whom it was designed, the patients. Instead, the vast NHS bureaucracy exists to prosper the interests of the highly unionised officials on its payroll – including scandalously high numbers of the privileged elite earning hundreds of thousands of pounds. We have noticed that many of these are unaccountable and, however incompetent, unsackable. The common three card trick is for one of them actually to be dismissed from post, only to be appointed to another post (on an even larger salary) a couple of weeks later.

NHS, the envy of the world? Laughing stock of the world, more like. 

All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.

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