Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tell us something we don't know

One of the more astonishing things about Labour was how they took a country with a balance of payment surplus into a multi trillion pound deficit. Not because this is the sort of thing that the left do as they only have a very slim grasp if any on the relationship between spending and income, but because of how they wasted it. They poured billions into projects such as the NHS and education and yet at the end of the day they ended up not getting any sort of value for the money they paid in at all.

LABOUR failed to give taxpayers value for money from the billions they poured into hospitals, a report has found.
Despite NHS spending increasing by 70 per cent over the past decade, productivity actually declined in hospitals, the Public Accounts Committee said last night.
Committee chairman Margaret Hodge, a former Labour minister, said: “Over the last 10 years, the productivity of NHS hospitals has been in almost continuous decline. 
“Over the same period, the amount spent on the NHS increased from £60billion to £102billion a year.
“The quality of the health service has improved as a result of this increase in spending.
“But the taxpayer has been getting less for each pound spent.’’
One key problem is that national pay contracts were not used effectively to manage staff performance. While consultants had enjoyed significant pay rises, their productivity had fallen.
Previous research showed the number of NHS managers doubled under Labour and rose six times as fast as that of nurses.
Managers’ pay also rose faster than that of nurses.
 This is one of the greatest flaws in public services, there is no price for failure. A private company would go bankrupt, be sold, be split up, be audited and move towards efficiency or go under. The NHS does no such thing, it simply asks for more money and if threatened with cuts immediately looks to cut frontline services rather than management because that provokes the greatest outrage in the gullible public who think mostly that the NHS is about doctors and nurses and who are often enough under the illusion that it's free. Indeed, only the Chinese Army and the Indian State Railways are believed to employ more people — with 2.3 million and 1.5 million staff respectively — but both workforces represent a far smaller proportion of the national populations.This all has to be paid for out of taxpayers money and we deserve value for that money. I'm not saying that the NHS has to run at a profit, but it does need to be efficient, a public service run on private lines so to speak. This is what Labour failed to deliver, nobody begrudged the nurses and doctors getting a decent pay rise, but nobody expected the massive growth in bureaucracy and the subsequent slip in productivity and standards of care and hygiene, well nobody except the right wingers to whom Labour spending and wise decisions are a bit of an oxymoron.
The committee isn't telling us anything we didn't know, it isn't telling us anything we didn't know 5 or 6 years ago, all they are doing is confirming that yes it happened, despite all the bluster and denial from the left that it wasn't.
What it isn't doing is really telling us how it's going to be put right, efficiency savings of up to £20 billion by 2014 might sound good, but the proof rather will be the details rather than the soundbite. The monster that is the NHS admin will move heaven and earth to save their jobs, they are after all the ones who will be tasked to make the savings, so I fear that the initial savings will be as you guessed it doctors and nurses along with primary care. The left and the liberals will then scream that the evil Tories are gutting the NHS and the whole ghastly business will start all over again.
I think it's long overdue that we looked for and implemented a replacement for the NHS, something that gives the care we need, but provides value for money. I'm sure some country in the world has a better example of how it can be done.

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