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The NHS abandoned in England

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Below is part of a segment from Monday’s edition of Good Morning Scotland, which featured an interview with Professor Allyson Pollock, an extremely experienced academic in the field of healthcare on both sides of the border who so far as we know has no dog in the Scottish constitutional fight.

HAYLEY MILLAR (BBC SCOTLAND): How do the [English and Scottish NHS] systems, or services, compare?

PROF. POLLOCK: Well, I think there’s a very important background message to this story, which is that the NHS in England was abolished by the Health And Social Care Act in 2012.

So what’s happening is that in England the NHS is now rapidly being dismantled and privatised – both the delivery and opened up to user charges and changes in funding. And that has a big impact for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which still have their NHS.

Because the funding for the NHS in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales comes through something called the Barnett Formula. So we already have a problem, because Scotland is going to suffer under the Barnett Formula – known as the Barnett squeeze – so the amount of money that it gets from the Treasury is being reduced.

But also, as the NHS is being dismantled in England, funding is being withdrawn from both the NHS and social care, which means that that translates into the Barnett Formula into a real reduction in funding for the countries that still have a national health service.

Nevertheless, Scotland is still much better placed than England – and indeed Wales at the moment – Scotland is in a much stronger position than England with respect to both health and social care. The problem is at the moment that the English government is not committed to a national health service – it has abolished the national health service.

The Secretary of State for Health there has no duty to provide a national health service in England, so the money is now being withdrawn from the National Health Service in England.

And as it’s withdrawn from England, the Treasury at the same time is also withdrawing the funding from Scotland.

Now, Scotland still has a national health service, but if it’s going to retain a proper national planned health service, it does indeed require more funding to come in. But that ultimately is going to be a Treasury decision.

MILLAR: Except we saw the Scottish Government, didn’t we, Allyson Pollock, last week in the budget, saying that there would be more money for the NHS.

POLLOCK: Well, that’s true, but there’s only a limit as to what it can do with the pot of money that it gets from the Treasury, and that is being squeezed, because basically, the Scottish Government gets what’s called a block grant from the Treasury under the fiscal settlement, but it has very little power to alter the size of that grant. It can only move the budget around, as it were – it’s got very limited tax-raising powers.

So actually, we… whatever happens in England, and the dismantling is happening very rapidly, if you think there’s a crisis in Scotland it’s nothing like what’s going on – and I’m here south of the border, both at times in London and in Newcastle – it’s nothing like the scale of the devastation that’s being now wrought in England.

Which is why we need the NHS in England restored, so that then the politicians south of the border will be committed to an NHS, and then the funding will come back in.

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I remember the issue of the Barnett Formula and how Scotland's money would be cut as England continued on the path of privatisation of the NHS. It came up a lot during the Independence Referendum Debate (on social media) but as the media was, apart from The Sunday Herald, (one newspaper, one day a week) –most people were unaware of this issue. I think this will continue to be the case.

It's a joke when the message from Westminster is that with an aging population the cost is more as England isn't the only country with an aging population.  Of all the four countries in the UK, Scotland spends the most on health, it also achieves a much higher degree of success with regard to meeting targets 92.6% of patients seen within the four hour target. In December the figure in England was 86.2% – going downhill rapidly with January figure only 79%. The UK also spends less than less wealthy countries in the OECD

Theresa May, in response, to concerns raised, replied that there were a small number of incidents. Today Hunt admitted that the NHS in England was facing serious problems. These people and their cronies don't need to worry – they can afford private health care.  Probably gearing up for some deals with their pal Trump.

Thank heavens Health is a devolved matter but first chance they get funds will be cut because there is a clear aim to privatise health.



share of gdp health.jpg

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I think Ireland's a tricky one, CL; according to some criteria it's reckoned to be the wealthiest country in Europe/  http://blogs.ft.com/ftdata/2015/05/13/ireland-is-the-wealthiest-economy-in-europe-or-not/

It certainly does a lot better than the UK for productivity. There's some report out today showing how poorly the UK does compared to  many countries for productivity. Scotland was particularly poor within the UK but it has caught up:

"Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: "These figures show that Scotland's productivity performance has grown around four times faster than the UK, providing further evidence of Scotland's economic strength."

On the right track but the productivity figures in the UK are shockingly poor. 30- point gap with Ireland.

:Britain has a five-point productivity gap with Spain, a 30-point gap with Ireland, a 34-point gap with Belgium and a 45-point gap with the Netherlands. The ONS said on its alternative measure of productivity – output per worker – the UK had a 19-point gap with the rest of the G7.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “For all the good news on rising employment, the UK is still not creating enough quality jobs. The yawning productivity gap between us and other countries shows how much room there is for us to do better. The loss of middle-income jobs, in vital industries like steel, is holding the economy back and dragging down pay.”

For all the Tories shouting out about how able they are to deal with the country's finances – the facts don't back this up.

On a per capita measurement, the UK comes in at 4th most wealthy country, although, I think that has dropped recently. The reason given for this is 'the high value of real estyte in the UK'.  I think this probably hides a very skewed picture, as a lot of the most expenses properties, usually in London and thereabouts, are owned by super wealthy Russian and Chinese businesses. 

Whatever money the UK has they have drained the NHS. Nothing is actually working well not the transport system, not social or health services and not their productivity. So being a wealthy country is based on very fragile economy.



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I find it a bit of a muddle but shocking that the productivity rate in the UK is so far below other countries. They say that it's because of lack of managerial skills. I think it also possibly has something to do with so many service sector staff being on zero hours contracts. 

I see they're now saying that Social Care in England is on the point of collapse. 

'Analysis previously published by Age UK suggests almost 1.2 million people aged 65 and over do not receive the care and support they need with essential daily activities such as eating, dressing and bathing.

That figure has shot up by 17.9% in just a year and almost by 50% since 2010, with nearly one in eight now living with some level of unmet need,'


Theresa May isn't making much headway with her plan to have a country that works for everyone. Not working for the most vulnerable nor her jams. 

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It's getting worse. Unbelievable that waiting times for routine surgery will be longer. Of course, the group this will hurt most is the elderly with all the knee, hip replacements, cataract operations and the like.  Paid in longest to National Insurance then punished. Pretty low.  Also doesn't make sense as there will be more visits to GPs but then they won't be prescribing painkillers or creams anymore. 

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