YESTERDAY’S claim by Tory PM May that she will hand over an extra £20bn a year to the NHS was described by Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as a ‘publicity stunt’. Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, May said: ‘We’re going to ensure there’s a 10-year plan for the NHS… At the end of five years, by 2023-24 there will be £20 billion in real terms being spent on the NHS…
‘Of course we’ve got to fund that. It will be through the Brexit dividend. The fact that we are no longer sending vast amounts of money every year to the EU once we leave the EU. And we as a country will be contributing a bit more… ‘Simon Stevens, who heads NHS England supports this and he will now be working with clinicians, with doctors, with people in the NHS to put together the details of this ten year plan.’
Shadow Chancellor McDonnell responded: ‘It looks today as if this is completely uncosted.’
He added: ‘But remember the background to this is that this government has underfunded the NHS for eight years. It has caused a crisis. The average funding increase has been about 1.4%. Before then it was usually about 4% growth. ‘They’ve created a crisis. Now they are desperately, politically trying to dig themselves out of that hole but in a way that is just not credible…
‘We believe that this crisis has been caused by this Conservative government. They should sort it out before they go out of office. They won’t I’m afraid, on these proposals certainly.’ He concluded: ‘Why don’t we start listening to the staff themselves and one of the prime things they are saying to us at the moment is “stop privatising the NHS”.’
BMA member Anna Athow commented: ‘May’s 10-year plan is a plan to completely privatise the NHS.
‘She has now handed this job over to Simon Stevens the head of NHS England.’ Athow added that what the NHS requires is: • Funding to restore the losses suffered in the last 8 years of flatlining the NHS budget. • The £25bn per annum squeezed out by the cuts between 2010 and 2017 has to be restored and then rises of at least 4-5% per annum returned to keep up with inflation and demand.
• The reconfiguration and privatisation agenda has to be reversed and all NHS buildings, land and infrastructures renationalised. • District General Hospitals and GP surgeries must be maintained and restored with proper funding, as must the ambulance services, community care and public health. • A restored public administration, accountable to the public, to restore national planning of health care for need and not for profit.
• The NHSE and the STP boards packed with privateers must be disbanded. • The colossal drain on public NHS funding by privatisation must be immediately stopped and the money re-directed to front line care.
She concluded: ‘We need a workers government boosting public ownership and public planning and accountablity to re direct the public funds OUT of the private sector. ‘It must nationalise the drug companies to make a massive saving for the NHS. A publicly-owned industry would make vital drugs much more cheaply.
‘A workers government will bring all staff back in-house and pay proper wages. Safe staffing levels would be mandatory. Tuition fees would be abolished, and the nurses bursaries restored. ‘Young people will again be keen to train as doctors, nurses and paramedics, so that the huge workforce crisis can be addressed.
‘The huge cuts to social care must be restored and social care provided free at the point of use. ‘The reconfiguration and privatisation agenda has to be reversed and all NHS buildings, land and infrastructures renationalised. ‘To achieve this the TUC must be made to call a general strike to bring down the Tory government and bring in a workers government and socialism.’