Posted byEast Devon Watch
Posted on4 Dec 2019
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“Health Secretary Matt Hancock looked panicked as Sky’s Adam Boulton put him on the spot in what quickly became a car-crash interview this morning.
Hancock tried to blame the EU for the NHS being ‘on the table’ in trade talks with the US – then admitted that the Tories were only ‘partially successful’ in preventing it.
But under the pressure of yesterday’s revelations by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn of the Tories’ NHS negotiations with Trump’s advisers, Hancock soon shot himself in the foot with a rattled insistence that if the US insisted that the NHS had to be part of a trade deal, the UK would ‘walk away’.
But when Boulton pointed out that would mean not having a trade deal, Hancock tried to insist that there will be one – and when Boulton challenged him to make his mind up, he started spinning like a self-contradictory top.
Donald Trump, of course, has stated unequivocally that the NHS ‘and a lot more than that’ would have to be on the table for the US to agree any deal.
The Tories’ negotiation papers have made clear not only that the US continues to insist that access to the NHS and a new patent deal that would push up drug prices are central to any deal from the US viewpoint – but also that the talks to include them are at a very advanced stage.”
Privatising the SERVICES of the NHS allows Tories to say that it remains “free at the point of use”. What is actually happening is that we are paying through the nose when we use the service by allowing those private companies to cream off profits for their directors and shareholders, moving excess profits to tax havens. This makes the service much more expensive to run but keeps rich investors very happy.
And it is the same with privatised social care – though here the same rich investors push up the direct costs to the service users.
“NHS spending on care provided by private companies has jumped by £700m to £3.1bn with non-NHS firms winning almost 70 per cent of tendered contracts in England last year.
Private care providers were awarded 267 out of a total of 386 contracts made available in 2016-17, including the seven highest value opportunities, worth £2.4bn. …”
Owl says: A vote for anyone other than Claire Wright in East Devon is a vote for Conservatives.
“Speaking on the Today programme, Mr Raab says the Conservatives have been “absolutely clear there is going to be no privatisation of the NHS” in trade talks with the US and there will be “no dilution of our protection of consumers”.
He is asked about a pamplet he co-wrote called “After the Coalition”, which says that two-thirds of hospitals could be run by private companies or not-for-profits.
Mr Raab says that is a “ludicrous assertion”, calling it a “snippet from pamphlet written a long time ago” and adding that he has “never advocated privatisation”.”
Seems like his “communications” specialist Adviser Jupp (the Tory parachuted into East Devon) needs to go back to that Wimbledon flat to give his boss some help … assuming they both have jobs to go back to shortly.
“The Institute for Fiscal Studies is deeply unimpressed at what it deemed a “lack of significant policy action” in the Conservative Party manifesto.
The Tory social care crisis for Britain’s elderly and infirm that Johnson had promised to fix when he became PM did not even get a mention in the manifesto. Johnson had previously claimed that he had a plan ready to sort it out.
The IFS concluded that the manifesto plans meant people expecting relief for Britain’s public services after a decade of austerity would instead see “cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”
Economic researchers at the independent think tank calculated that the National Insurance threshold rise to £9,500 that Boris Johnson appeared to have lied or been mistaken about will actually only save most in paid work “less than £2 a week” and highlighted the “notable omission” for any plan to deal with the crisis in social care funding.
Nigel Edwards, chief executive at the Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, said he was “bitterly disappointed” to see “unnecessary delay” in tackling the issue of social care.
IFS director Paul Johnson said: “If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals, we would have been calling it modest.
“As a blueprint for five years in government, the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.”
Main manifesto pledges quickly debunked
Speaking at a launch event in Telford, Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to take the UK out of the EU by the end of January, so they could “forge a new Britain”. “We will get Brexit done and we will end the acrimony and the chaos,” he said.
As well as a flagship promise of 50,000 more nurses for the NHS in England despite Brexit “chaos”, the manifesto included a U-turn restoring maintenance grants for student nurses previously scrapped by the Tories.
Tory sources later acknowledged that about 30,000 of the additional nurses would come from measures to retain existing staff rather than new recruits, and the main Tory manifesto pledge was debunked among other claims by a fact checking service within hours of the launch. Labour called the Tory figures “deceitful.”
Chief executive Will Moy said the Conservative Party could “do more to meet the standards we expect” after investigating its pledges on paving the way for 50,000 new nurses and limiting day-to-day spending increases to only £3 billion, despite promising a litany of public services investment.
The fact checkers also slammed Johnson’s use the the slogan “get Brexit done”, a phrase that appears 22 times in the manifesto including on the cover, when a deal with the European Union could take “years to negotiate”.
“The Brexit process will not be completed by January,” despite what Johnson keeps repeating said the independent organisation.
‘Older people face a triple whammy’
“After a decade of the Conservatives cutting our NHS, police and schools, all Boris Johnson is offering is more of the same: more cuts, more failure, and years more of Brexit uncertainty,” Jeremy Corbyn responded.
He added: “Boris Johnson can’t be trusted. Older people face a triple whammy as he has failed to protect free TV licences for over 75s, refused to grant justice to women unfairly affected by the increase in the state pension age, and not offered a plan or extra money to fix the social care crisis.”
The lacklustre manifesto may be down to Conservative complacency after recent polls. The latest polling released on Sunday, created by Datapraxis using YouGov polling and voter interviews, suggested the Tories were on course to secure their largest Commons majority since 1987 – a majority of almost 50 MPs.
This would mean if Boris Johnson met the public services spending promises in his manifesto the UK would still be looking at a decade of cuts “baked into” our services, according to the IFS analysis.
Boris Johnson’s broken promise to fix Tory social care crisis
Paul Johnson of the IFS’ initial reaction to the Tory manifesto was scathing: “If the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos were notable for the scale of their ambitions the Conservative one is not. If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.
“In part that is because the chancellor announced some big spending rises back In September. Other than for health and schools, though, that was a one-off increase. Taken at face value today’s manifesto suggests that for most services, in terms of day-to-day spending, that’s it. Health and school spending will continue to rise. Give or take pennies, other public services, and working age benefits, will see the cuts to their day-to-day budgets of the last decade baked in.”
“One notable omission is any plan for social care. In his first speech as prime minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’. After two decades of dither by both parties in government it seems we are no further forward.
“On the tax side the rise in the National Insurance threshold was well trailed. The ambition for it to get to £12,500 may remain, but only the initial rise to £9,500 has been costed and firmly promised. Most in paid work would benefit, but by less than £2 a week. Another £6 billion would need to be found to get to £12,500 by the end of the parliament. Given the pressures on the spending side that is not surprising.”
“Perhaps the biggest, and least welcome, announcement is the ‘triple tax lock’: no increases in rates of income tax, NICs or VAT. That’s a constraint the chancellor may come to regret. It is also part of a fundamentally damaging narrative – that we can have the public services we want, with more money for health and pensions and schools – without paying for them. We can’t.”
School cuts barely reversed
The Conservative manifesto confirmed previous commitments in England to increase school spend in England by £7.1 billion by 2022–23. However, that would leave spend per pupil in real terms after a decade of austerity at the same level as 13 years ago, the IFS explained.
In contrast the IFS found the Labour commitment of a £7.5 billion real terms increase by 2022–23 a 14.6% rise in spending per pupil.
Unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats the Conservative manifesto refused to extend free, pre-school childcare.
IFS researchers warned that the Conservative manifesto pledges left “little scope for spending increases beyond next year outside of those planned for health and schools.”
In a dire warning the IFS added: “even in 2023–24 day-to-day spending on public services outside of health would still be almost 15 per cent lower in real terms that it was at the start of the 2010s.”
“Failure to recruit enough nurses has left the NHS dependent on less-skilled support staff to plug workforce gaps, analysis by a charity has found.
The Health Foundation claimed there has been a “hollowing out” of the NHS workforce and said the country needs to recruit at least 5,000 international nurses a year until 2023-24 to prevent shortages impacting on patient care.
Although there was the biggest annual increase in overall workforce for a decade between March 2018 and March 2019, this “masks an ongoing shift” in the mix of clinical staff employed by the NHS, the charity said.
While there was 4,500 more nurses recruited in the year – an increase of 1.5% – there was a 2.6% increase in support staff doctors, nurses and midwives (6,500 more), according to the analysis.
Nursing vacancies also reached record levels at 44,000 in the first quarter of 2019 while NHS output – including the number of operations, consultations and diagnostic procedures – grew by 23% between 2010-11 and 2016-17.
“The figures suggest that in some cases, clinical support staff are effectively filling in the gaps left by the widespread shortages of nurses, raising questions of quality and safety,” the report added.
The Health Foundation also said figures show that in response to a “severe drop off” in the supply of EU nurses since 2016, the UK has ramped up its recruitment of nurses from non-EU countries over the last year.
Since the Brexit referendum nurses recruited from EU countries has fallen by 85% – from 6,382 in 2016-17 to 968 in 2018-19.
The charity noted there had still been recruitment from outside the EU in 2018-19 – including 1,791 nurses from India and 3,118 from the Philippines.
A similar trend occurred with doctor recruitment, where there was a fall of 1.6% between March 2018 and March 2019 of permanently employed GPs. The Health Foundation added: “It now appears impossible that the government’s original target of recruiting 5,000 additional GPs by 2020 will be met”.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Nursing shortages continue to deepen and are inevitably impacting on the front line.
“Services are being forced to make do with shortfalls of increasingly pressurised nurses and rely on less-skilled support staff to pick up the slack.
She added: “Two obvious solutions to the nurse staffing crisis would be to train more nurses in this country and retain more existing staff. But the UK is struggling to grow the numbers starting nursing degrees, and while there must also be action to address this – for example, by giving nurse students the cost-of-living support they need – it will take time to have a significant impact on the numbers of nurses.”
Charlesworth noted that clinical support staff played an important role but added there appeared to be an unplanned increased recruitment of such staff to fill nursing staff shortages.
The Conservatives have promised 50,000 more nurses if they win the election next month, although 19,000 of those will be retained rather than newly recruited.”