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Dick of the Year – Andrew Lansley

Posted on December 29, 2011 by | 6 Comments

This is a nomination for Bright Green’s Dick of the Year 2011 award. To submit your own nomination email around 200 words to editors (at) brightgreenscotland (dot) org by the end of Friday. Voting will open on New Year’s Day.

In the second year of the coalition, Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill, one of the biggest top down reforms of the NHS since its inception in 1948, rolled it’s way through the commons, and is most of the way through the Lords, delayed only by Lansley’s refusal to release a register of risks created by the health bill. In 2008, Cameron had said there would be an end to top down reforms of the NHS.

The bill is opposed by all the medical professionals, with the BMA recently reiterating it’s complete opposition to it. 38 Degrees’ petition stands at 495,000 signatures. “Andrew Lansley – Greedy, Andrew Lansley – Tosser” became a regular chant on demos, as MC NextGen’s Lansley rap racked up over 450,000 views on YouTube. This song remains one of the most insightful criticisms of both Lansley and the health bill.

Only private healthcare companies like the bill, but Lansley repeatedly says this is not about privatisation, then over christmas announces that the health bill will allow NHS hospitals to sell up to 49% of bedspace to private patients in order to raise revenue.

Meanwhile, Lansley is presiding over “efficiency savings” of £20bn over 5 years from the most efficient healthcare system in the world . With cuts being made, how many hospitals will be able to operate without selling more and more bedspace to private patients who are paying to be seen more quickly?

Before the election Cameron said “we’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS” and then they have done exactly the opposite. 4 out of 5 doctors say those cuts are affecting patient care.

So for accelerating the job begun by Labour when they created foundation hospitals, to seek to run down the NHS in preparation for privatisation, to eventually remove and destroy one of the greatest achievements of the UK, a universal healthcare system accessible regardless of wealth, which is ranked amongst the best in the world, and swap it for a US system which will cost us all more, for worse care, I am nominating Andrew Lansley for dick of the year.

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6 Responses to “Dick of the Year – Andrew Lansley”

  1. Bob IrvingNo Gravatar
    December 29th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    Personally, if you nominated him as Dick of the Decade, then you would be underestimating his dick-ishness. The best indication was when he appeared on BBC Question Time with Dr Phil Hammond who ran him ragged over the incomprehensibility of the wretched Bill, then Lansley turned in response to a question from the audience and gave a superior “you just don’t understand’ sneery smile….

  2. He's SpartacusNo Gravatar
    December 29th, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

    Spending on the NHS will continue to grow year on year throughout this parliament – as it has almost uninterruptedly since 1948.

    Expenditure will rise from £103.8 billion today to £114.4 billion in 2015. It’s true that, once inflation is factored in, the increase is slight – around 0.4 per cent. It’s true, too, that there is a reallocation of funds within that budget from administration to the actual provision of healthcare (which, perhaps naively, I assume to be a good thing).

    But I’d like to know, in what system of mathematics does this represent a ‘cut’?

  3. TomNo Gravatar
    December 30th, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    I apologise, I should have said real-term cuts, I wrote the article in a hurry having been intending to nominate Dave Hartnett.. In any case, it is the real term figures that are important not absolute figures, and I don’t agree that real term spending has risen, and think it will fall over the next four years.

    The Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) from July 2011, says that real term spending fell from £102.7bn in 09/10 to £101.9bn in 10/11. These are actual expenditure figures (though it’s not clear which year is the baseline).

    In 14/15 it is planned to be £102.9bn – a rise of 0.2% in real terms. But these are just plans, and the calculation in these figures is done using GDP deflators not CPI or RPI. The figure comes from ONS which has GDP Deflators running at 2.5%-2.8% over the period.
    CPI and RPI have been running considerably higher than this recently.

    If the 0.4% real terms increase claimed in the 2010 Spending Review you reference is to happen, inflation needs to run at 2-2.5% each year, something which seems unlikely (and certainly didn’t happen in 2011).
    If we took a 5% figure for this year(based on current CPI/RPI), and assumed 3% in future years, the planned figures in the spending review would represent a real terms cut of nearly 5%. If CPI/RPI remained around 5% until 14/15 it would be a cut of 11% in real terms..
    Using the ONS GDP deflator figures (2-5-2.8%), it’s a real terms cut of 0.8%.
    Of course, they may adjust spending in the future to take into account increased inflation, or they may not.

    But in any case, it’s dick of the year, and this year, according to the PESA figures, real-terms spending on the NHS fell.
    And that doesn’t bode well for the future.

    When you add in the £20bn efficiency savings, then the real story is that the NHS is making cuts to meet their saving targets, resulting in cuts to services, such as those at the Haert of England Trust, which is looking at cutting 250 hospital beds to meet government savings targets, having already cut 400 jobs.

    So yes, cuts in spending this year, and most likely over the period, though of course that is yet to be seen.

    PESA report (PDF) – p28 for the relevant table:
    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pesa_2011_chapter1.pdf

    or Guardian article about the report:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/28/nhs-spending-fall-cameron

    ONS GDP deflator figures:
    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/data_gdp_fig.htm

    CPI/RPI data:
    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1586103/Inflation–Interest-rates–Economic-growth–Unemployment-Latest-statistics.html

    Hospital bed cuts: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/11/16/nearly-250-nhs-beds-to-be-cut-across-hospitals-in-birmingham-solihull-and-sutton-coldfield-97319-29783839/

  4. No, I am spartacus!No Gravatar
    January 2nd, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    I’m no economist but I would argue that health budget should rise due to the increasing number of sick people in the UK; I’ve nothing against old people or working with old people but the fact is they demand more medical budget, so a real term budget increase equals a real term service cut (for example, you may get a prescription for cannabis based medication, but have to pay for the approved shit yourself). But that said, the government rewards consumers for failing to plan their families properly, where it should be shouting loudly about the fact that 2011 saw a world population increase of 7 billion people, and the average consumer would require 6 earths or something, to make its lifestyle anything resembling “green”.

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