YESTERDAY, NHS England was due to publish the Tory blueprint for dealing with the huge NHS backlog and reducing the record six million patients on waiting lists for treatment.
However at the last minute, publication of this National Recovery Plan, which had been fully written and approved by the Department of Health, was cancelled after being blocked by Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, health officials expected this plan to be announced by Boris Johnson and Tory Health Secretary Sajid Javid ‘as evidence of their determination to tackle the problem’.
In fact, it was more a case of Johnson desperately attempting to prove to a hostile country that he still has any control, or indeed any plans, to deal with a crisis that is overwhelming the NHS.
It was at this point that his Chancellor, Sunak, intervened to ruin Johnson’s photo-opportunity by blocking the publication of this ‘blueprint’.
According to the Telegraph, Sunak refused to sign off on the plans, with sources in the Treasury claiming it was because of concerns over ‘value for money’.
This was immediately denied by Javid who insisted that publication had merely been pushed back because of the surge in Omicron infections in November and it would be published ‘soon’.
Javid went out of his way to refute claims that Sunak had blocked the plans in a row over the amount of money involved, saying: ‘There is no issue around money at all’ and that the Treasury was ‘an excellent partner’ and ‘we have a great relationship’.
A more accurate analysis of Sunak blocking Johnson’s plan was given by the head of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, who said it was because Sunak believes the Johnson government is ‘dying’.
Taylor claimed that Sunak is concerned about wasting cash on a ‘dying administration’ and the Treasury is ‘loath to agree to any No 10 plans involving money as the Chancellor sees these as opportunistic and wasted on a dying administration.’
Sunak clearly doesn’t want to agree to funding the Johnson plans which do not address, in the slightest, the crisis facing the NHS – namely the 100,000 vacancies across hospital trusts and the need to recruit 4,000 more doctors to deal with the massive backlog.
Just as the Tories fight amongst themselves over futile attempts to save Johnson or let his administration simply die on its feet, research has revealed that the number of cancer patients facing delays in seeing a specialist for the first time and starting their treatment have hit a record high in England.
Half a million with suspected cancer will be forced to wait longer than the two week maximum.
The number of patients confirmed to have cancer but are unable to begin surgery or chemotherapy within the crucial 31 or 62 days that hospitals try to guarantee, is expected to go above 75,000 for the first time. These delays in diagnosis and treatment greatly reduce a patient’s chance of surviving cancer.
The lives of thousands of people, along with relief from pain and misery for six million waiting for treatment, mean absolutely nothing to a Tory government that is responsible for all the cuts over the last decade that have led to appalling shortages of nurses and doctors while leaving those that remain burnt-out from covering the jobs of three people.
The Tories are now using the NHS as a football in the game being played out as to who will inherit the crumbling leadership crown after Boris Johnson is thrown out.
With this Tory government collapsing and dying by the day, the only way to put an end to the crisis in the NHS is for the trade unions to take urgent strike action to kick the Tory government out and bring in a workers’ government and socialism.
A workers’ government will expropriate the bosses and bankers, drive the privateers out of the NHS, and build a socialist planned economy.
Only a socialist economy based on human need not profit can provide all the funding and resources required to ensure that the NHS grows to meet the health needs of society.