Sky News claimed 55% of the NHS budget is spent on over 85s – the REAL amount is VERY different

A Sky News article claimed that 55% of all NHS spending went on people 85+:

An independent fact-checking charity decided to research this claim.

Sky News told them it calculated the figures based on data published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), but the IFS told us they don’t recognise these figures. They have asked Sky for more information.

Other figures the charity has seen from the IFS suggest that the proportion of health spending across the UK (rather than just the NHS budget) which goes to those aged 85 and over is likely to be around 10% by 2021/22.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) told them it wasn’t familiar with the figures used by Sky News, but did provide them with other information.

When compared to a 30 year-old, spending across the UK on health (not just the NHS) for an 85 year-old is projected to be 5.6 times higher in 2021/22, and twice as much for a 65 year-old. That’s taking account of the fact that not all people of those ages will necessarily need to use health care.

But that doesn’t mean that 85 year-olds will require 5.6 times as much of the budget as 30 year-olds, because there are fewer people at that age.

Using population projections for 2021 we can see that those aged 85 and over are projected to make up just 3% of the population of the UK. Those aged between 65 and 84 made up 16% and those aged 30-64 made up 45%.

Based on this, 10% of health spending across the UK would go to those over the age of 85 by 2021/22, 32% would go to those aged 65 to 84 and 35% would go to those between the age of 30 and 64.

Claire Wright concerned about unpaid carers – asks for them to contact her

Could you imagine Swire being concerned about this – concerned, not just anodyne words.

“Some of Devon County Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee will visit Westbank League of Friends to hear from staff who support unpaid carers, later this month, following my proposal for a spotlight review into how unpaid carers who look after friends and family members are faring.

I have seen a confidential report of a focus group meeting that took place last year, which indicates that the 24 people in Devon who took part, are suffering from a lack of support, a lack of money and a lack of respite care….. many reported that their mental and physical health was suffering as a result.

I asked for the (anonymised) report to be published with the June health scrutiny papers, but this was refused as the focus group report was not ever intended to be made public and consent had not been given. Instead a rather more neutral version of the report was published, but as I told the committee, this did not reflect the original report and I don’t believe people’s voices have been heard.

The media reports today that unpaid carers save the economy a massive £60bn a year – – here’s the BBC story on the subject.

Anecdotally, my conversations with local people 100 per cent support the findings from Devon County Council’s focus group. Many unpaid carers are at their wits end.

I did propose a spotlight review into how unpaid carers are faring but this was not voted on unfortunately. There didn’t seem support from around the room. However, the issue will return to the agenda in September and I will pursue it then.

If you are an unpaid carer and wish to get in touch I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Email me at

NHS bed blocking costs £550 per MINUTE says charity

“Bed blocking because of a lack of social care availability is costing the NHS an “eye-watering” £550 per minute, according to research by a charity released today. This equates to £290m a year, Age UK has estimated.

Analysis by the charity also showed that in just two years, the number of older people in England living with an unmet care need has risen by 19%, which translates to 1.4 million over 65s living with unmet care needs

More than 300,000 need help with three or more essential daily tasks like getting out of bed, going to the toilet or getting dressed, the charity found, and of this 165,000 receive no help whatsoever from paid carers, family members or friends.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “The numbers of delayed discharges to a lack of social care are actually going down, but a lack of social care still costs the NHS an eye-watering £500 every minute – not to mention undermining the chances of older people making a full recovery if they are unnecessarily stuck in hospital for weeks or longer.”

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “People’s unmet care needs will continue to increase and deepen the crisis in adult social care unless the sector receives a long-term funding settlement, like the NHS, and further funding is made available for council’s public health and prevention services.

“To prevent crises in the NHS, government needs to plug the £3.5bn funding gap facing adult social care by 2025 and reverse the £600m in reductions to councils’ public health grants between 2015-16 and 2019-20.”

Age UK noted that between 2009-10 and 2016-17 spending on adult social care in England fell by 8% in real terms. As a result, in the same period, the average spend per adult on social care fell by 13%, from £430 to £379.

Alex Khaldi, head of social care insights at Grant Thornton, said: “Funding is not the only answer, councils need to focus on monitoring the level of unmet need in their areas more effectively. “If we are to exercise place-based leadership in social care, better data insight that allows councils to identify where and why people have fallen between the cracks is urgently needed.”

The LGA has announced that it would be publishing its own adult social care green paper, after Jeremy Hunt announced the government green paper would be delayed until autumn.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We expect the NHS to work closely with local authorities to ensure people are treated in the most suitable setting and when they are discharged from hospital they have a care plan in place.”

What Shakespeare knew about Integrated Care Organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships!

Reposting a comment by “The Bard” with apologies to Shakespeare!

“Meantime we shall express our darker purpose.
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided
Our kingdom divers ways: and ’tis our fast intent
To shake all cares and business from our age;
Conferring them on LEPs, they so enriched,
While we, unburthen’d crawl toward electoral death.

………………….Tell me, my Councillors,–
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state,–
Which of you shall we say doth owe us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge. Greg Clark,
Our business secretary, speak first.

King Lear: Act 1, Scene 1 (updated a tad)

The NHS at 70

“Only one hospital trust met all its main targets over the past year, with dozens failing on emergency treatment, cancer care and routine surgery waiting times, an investigation by The Times has found.

As the NHS prepared to mark its 70th anniversary today with services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster, doctors said the findings showed a system that was teetering “like a giant game of Jenga”.

The Times interactive project to uncover the best and worst of NHS hospitals found that in 2017-18, 25 out of 139 trusts failed to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours, treat 85 per cent of cancer patients within 62 days and offer 92 per cent of non-emergency patients treatment within 18 weeks. Only the Chelsea and Westminster in London hit all three key targets. Inspectors have praised the trust’s leadership and desire to learn from problems.

Over the winter 49 hospital trusts said their beds were full at some point. Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of the hospitals’ group NHS Providers, acknowledged that this risked damaging “public faith in the NHS, if it is unable to meet the standards people rightly expect”. The analysis, which looked at data on three key targets plus cancelled urgent operations, Care Quality Commission ratings, ambulance delays, bed blocking and norovirus outbreaks, suggests that Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust is performing worst. The hospital, where two patients died on trolleys in A&E in one week in January last year, is rated inadequate and has the third worst casualty performance.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust think tank, said: “It’s perfectly possible to have a view that the NHS needs more money but being oversentimental about it doesn’t help . . . There is definitely scope for improvement.”

He warned that there was no end in sight to the need for budget rises. Britain spends twice as much of national income on the NHS as in 1948, despite a vastly larger economy.

Theresa May has promised a £20 billion boost over the next five years, which experts have estimated is not enough to allow it to start meeting targets while improving GP, mental health and cancer care.

Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the system had been starved of resources and was “like a giant game of Jenga”.

A national “brand” like the NHS does not exist anywhere else and it profoundly affects how we look at our health service (Chris Smyth writes).

It is common to hear “the NHS saved my life” but in no other country do people say “our universal taxpayer-funded healthcare financing system saved my life”.

The NHS brand encapsulates the promise of comprehensive treatment, free at the point of use for the richest and poorest.

Yet responsibility lies in Whitehall, which feels remote from the front line. The political control of the NHS is unique and damaging. In Europe regions take responsibility and often find it easier to get things done. It is striking that recent key NHS successes — bringing down death rates by publishing data, centralising stroke care and eliminating surgical inefficiencies — have been led by staff rather than top-down initiatives.”

Source: Times (paywall)

Celebrate 70 years of OUR NHS at Respect Festival Saturday 30 June, Exeter


The NHS is 70: celebrate and protest to preserve it

Saturday 30th June 2018
In Exeter

KONP will have a stall at the Respect festival (Belmont park, Exeter) to celebrate the NHS and spread the word about KONP campaigns.

This includes information on accountable care organisations, the Friends of the Sidwell Street Walk-in Centre, and others.

NHS and taxes – it doesn’t need special taxation

Gower Institute for Money:

“Yet again we have politicians saying that taxes need to be increased to “pay for” spending; this time it’s for social care.

In the UK, as many other nations, Government spending comes before taxation. The UK Government creates new money every time it spends and deletes it by taxation. We can spend the necessary money NOW, we do not have to tax first to pay for the spending.

As for borrowing, that is not borrowing at all, it is providing investment vehicles called gilts to investors. These defend the desired interest rate, the money saved in gilts does not pay for anything either. The interest paid on these accounts is a matter of choice too.

The Government should spend the money necessary to provide the service. Taxes collected will increase anyway as the people who do the work providing the service will pay tax and NI on their wages and taxes on their spending.

Of course the tax system needs sorting out; avoidance needs to be tackled. But we can do the spending needed now; the tax issue is an important, but separate, fight.”