Three quarters of the UK population are pretty much unaffected by the cuts and the proportion is falling. There’s nowhere near enough support here to win a General Election, particularly in the marginal seats.

Austerity diagrame

Austerity diagram

Labour needs to offer something far more inspirational that connects with the broad swathe of ordinary people.

I see nobody inside the NHS who thinks we can keep the show on the road  without very substantial injections of money.  The Spending Review produced just about enough to bail out all the bankrupt institutions. Perhaps to keep the NHS afloat until next Summer.

The only policy issue anyone wants to talk about is devolution.  I’m in demand to speak about DevoManc across the country.

On the whole I think Devo is a good idea.  Politicians in Manchester are talking about health inequality, prevention, public health, innovation  integration of health and social services – and cutting 30% off hospital budgets.  All those are good ideas – though you might not  agree.  But there is absolutely no evidence that these proposals will reduce demand for healthcare, and in particular hospital care, rapidly,
or possibly at all.  DevoManc asked for a £600 million transformation fund in the spending review, but there has been no announcement that  they’ve got it.

In Cuba when times were hard the government focussed on improving the health of the people, and as a result retained more popularity than might have been expected.  Is that what we should be doing?

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  1. Nico says:

    Please account for how in your Weltanschauung “cutting 30% off hospital budgets” is “a good idea”?

  2. Martin Rathfelder says:

    Every doctor I have ever talked to says 30% of hospital patients would be better cared for somewhere else.

    1. Nico says:

      If that is so, would that be the same as cutting 30% of the budget?

  3. Michael Fuller says:

    We need to widen the arguments so that we can illustrate the restrictions of the current system. If austerity alone does not directly impact on everybody, what about health inequalities? The gap between different parts of the country is not confined to comparisons with areas of deprivations (look at life expectations from town to town and within towns). If we can go on to link health inequalities to the unfair distribution of wealth, then we steer an NHS debate into wider economic and political issues. We need to raise people’s horizons so that they are fully aware of the limitations and frustrations of their daily lives – and that affects everybody.

    1. Martin Rathfelder says:

      That sounds like a good idea, but may not be easy. I live in Manchester, which for many years has had the lowest life expectancy in England, but I’ve never seen that mentioned in a political campaign. And of course the worst areas are already Labour. Poor life expectancy correlates quite well with the size of the Labour majority in your constituency

  4. Richard B says:

    The 30% cut is phantasy. Cut in access numbers is not same as cut in expenditure. Can reduce relative position of hospital funding over medium term but only by investment elsewhere.

    1. Nico says:

      Your mention of investment elsewhere begins to bring this back into the realm of healthcare, and away from the current trend of closing down so-called “financially failing” hospital facilities nominally on the basis of some alternative care **of which there is no sign that this will ever be provided**.

  5. rotzeichen says:

    Isn’t Martin advocating a 30% cut and doesn’t that equate more in line with Osborne than the Labour Party???

    The facts are that the Tories have already taken 20% out of the NHS over the last four years and are proposing another 30% over the next term of office.

    Does anyone seriously believe this will improve the NHS are do they see it as I do, it is deliberately destroying it.

    I have proven in the past from evidence that I supplied by real economic experts that we have all the money necessary to provide for our public services, it is just a political choice not to, which tells you clearly what their real privatisation intentions are.

    Here is a link that explains why Neo-Liberal politicians have attacked public services and their real intention of privatising them, and why Neo-Liberal orthodoxy is fundamentally wrong.

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