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999 Call for the NHS

A grassroots NHS campaign. Not affiliated to any of the political parties.

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By 999 Call for the NHS, Jun 21 2017 08:00PM

Hung up as they all are on outdated economic myths and being labelled as the party of “tax and spend” all the three main parties’ 2017 Manifestos fail to provide enough NHS and social care funding to pull the NHS and social care out of their current crisis.

The urgent need is to provide enough funding so that the NHS survives as a health service that is free at the point of need provides the full range of care and treatments to everyone, based on their clinical need. This has ceased to be the case as a result of successive governments’ underfunding of the NHS since 2010.

Social care should also be fully publicly funded and provided and available to all who need it in order to live independent decent lives - not just as a means-tested, privatised, residual service for those with “substantial” needs.

This requires adequate funding. But none of the three main parties’ 2017 Manifestos commits to this.

Given their “austerity” record over the last two Parliaments, it’s not surprising that the Conservative and LibDem manifestos offer little in the way of increased NHS and social care funding.

However, it’s disappointing that Labour have also failed to commit to enough NHS and social care funding to pull the services out of crisis.

The Labour Party manifesto commits to an extra £30bn NHS funding - more than current (Conservative) plans over five years, or £6 billion a year up to 2020/1.

The Conservatives commit to an extra £8bn in real terms (ie protected against inflation) in 2022/23 than is planned in 2017/18, although doctors and Sally Gainsbury, senior policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust, point out this figure is reached through the deployment of smoke and mirrors. SMOKE & MIRRORS

The LibDems commit to £6bn more than current plans for health and social care in 2019/20. WHO IS MOST GENEREOUS?

The way the Health Foundation analyses it WHAT THE MANIFESOTS MEAN

and although the Labour party’s commitment is the most generous:

“all three parties’ funding plans fall significantly short of the anticipated spending pressures. This will leave a funding gap, which will need to be filled either by a continuation of the drive for very high rates of efficiency and productivity growth in the NHS, or by scaling back what the NHS delivers.”

None of the Manifestos confess to scaling back on what the NHS delivers. So the assumption has to be that they all believe that the NHS will have to fill the funding gap by so-called “efficiency savings” that are at the same kind of level as required by the 5 Year Forward View Plan. For Labour the funding gap by 2022/3 would be £17bn, for the Tories it would be £22bn. Ok it's less but it's still the same philosophy - CUTS.

It looks like the more things change, the more they stay the same.

All 3 main parties make similarly inadequate funding commitments for social care

The Centre for Health and the Public Interest 2017 Election briefing note on Social care funding manifesto commitments finds that all 3 parties are proposing policies that won’t alleviate the social care crisis but will potentially benefit around 100K people, all with significant assets. And their social care manifesto commitments won’t do anything to alleviate the pressures on the NHS which arise because of a lack of adequate social care.

The CHPI Election briefing note points out that a substantial amount of public funding is needed for social care to: “become a service which enhances the lives and independence of our older people.”

But: “The 3 main parties are committed to keeping social care as a residual service for only those with substantial needs.”

This is despite the fact that reducing social care to a minimal service is:

“...a major reason why hospital A&E departments are regularly overwhelmed and why hospital beds cannot be freed up..”

All three main parties have responded to the social care crisis with Manifesto commitments to:

“provide some additional funds to just about maintain a highly restrictive service, and protecting the assets and wealth of a small number of richer older people.”

They have all signed up to the 2011 Dilnot report - LINK TO REPORT - which proposed to keep means-tested social care, with a cap on an individual’s liability to pay at a certain level, beyond which the state will pay; and an increase to the amount an individual can keep before having to contribute to the cost of their care.

The 2013 Dept of Health impact assessment on the Dilnot Report says it would benefit an additional 100,000 people who would receive care they would otherwise have to pay for.

Because the purpose of the Dilnot report was to expand state-funded social care to those currently deemed too wealthy to access it, the 2013 impact assessment showed that the scheme would disproportionately benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.

Yet The Green Party 2015 Manifesto costed free social care for the elderly at around £9bn/year. This could be paid for by a combination of NHS cost savings (as a result of reducing A&E use and bed occupation; and from savings resulting from ending NHS marketisation and privatisation); cuts to other areas of public spending (eg corporate welfare including fossil fuel corporate subsidies, which costs taxpayers around £85bn/year ); and increased revenue from a variety of fiscal measures including a wealth tax, Robin Hood (financial transactions) tax and a crack down on tax dodging.

However this would not deal with people with disabilities aged 18–64 years who receive long term social care - 285,000 people in 2015/16. Means-tested and largely privatised, this accounts for 48% of adults social care funding. We would argue that ALL adults social care should be publicly funded, provided and run and free at the point of need.

Contrary to economic myths put about by all three main parties, adequate funding of NHS and social care is both affordable and economically beneficial. We need to persuade the politicians.



By 999 Call for the NHS, Mar 17 2017 02:27PM

And I'll cry i want to...

Right now not one of the three mainstream political parties has the answers for our NHS, education, public services or our country as a whole, they have no sense or understanding of a good society where equality, fair play and justice exists for all. Austerity has not reduced the National Debt it has increased it and has only served to make the rich even richer whilst the poor get what they deserve - poorer.

Politicians make the right sounds, the right facial expressions and hand gestures but behind their smiles and expressions of sincerity they're either lying at worst, or at best, confused, deluded that they can promote and deliver a better future for our kids to grow up in by delivering the same old tired economic policies that have blighted the nation since the 80s. They've become stuck in the groove of "money is running out, we're just going to have do without".

And in turn we, the nation, having been encouraged to step back from political process have learnt to believe the scenario and we've become addicted to suffering, tightening our belts and closing our wallets because the money trees are running out of fruit. We now take a strange comfort in the assumption that "Times are hard and the world is changing" and we just have to put up and shut up and suffer the consequences.

Such is the limiting, controlling logic of Austerity, the philosophy invented by corporate mindsets determined to destroy public services, public wellbeing and public benevolence because it means they are denied the opportunity to make money. The economic philosophy that is the raison d'etre of those with wealth that is unimaginable for most of us and ultimately utterly pointless for all of us.

Economy is not how much money we have's how much money is circulating between us as wages, profits, taxes. How much is recycled, reintroduced and reused as purchases, mortgages, savings. If millions are now disappearing into offshore tax havens (they are we know it) when will that money enter back into our economy? When will it circulate freely back into our society and maintain the UK as the world's 6th largest economy? The answer? Slowly at best, most likely never.

Soon, as the corporate machine takes over all our public services and filters out our public budgets to offshore accounts (Branson's vast Virgin Island accounts for example) our economy will begin to shrink, the government will shout louder "there's not enough money!" and we will all be told we'll need to be even more careful with money, more resilient in our outlook and tighten our belts even further. A self satisfying philosophy of starving an economy to create a starving economy and a nation of grateful supplicants. A sort of sick economic Stockholm Syndrome as we learn to love the pain of living without the basic rights of health, education and jobs.

So where's the hope in the future ahead?

It lies in us, ordinary people putting ourselves back into politics with courage and determination and some decent honest rethinking of what is needed to provide a healthier future for our children and generations ahead. After decades of being “encouraged” to sit back, feel unworthy and let "others more fitting" take the lead, it's time for a return of ordinary people into the world of decision making and political strategy. Ordinary people with the ability to question not only their opponents but themselves too, the ability to explore and research new monetary thinking,  new methods of international relations, new and trusted methods of educating the nation and how to best deal with the ingrained corporate mindset that is entrenched within the corridors of power, the media and virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

Hope lies in our ability to look back at recent social history and discover what worked well in our past welfare state, the vision at its core, its beginnings and why it sometimes failed, mostly through no fault of its own but through longterm resistance by the established upper classes, the corporate business class and their struggle to remain in control and grow their own wealth. Hope lies in our ability to see that The Austerity Myth began long before it acquired its name. 

Hope lies in talking, sharing ideas with no hidden selfish agenda. It lies in not being afraid of a new political system that creates allies of those who share ideals and can reach beyond the limited tribal habits of current political behaviour patterns. Hope lies in breaking the cultural void of critical thinking in politics, encouraging voters to analyse all of their allegiances, to question their emotional ties to political parties they have remained faithful to out of habit or fear or apathy.

The time is now for voters on all sides of the political spectrum to ask if their MP is truly representing their needs, their desires and their hopes. And if their party is failing them to search for or create an alternative force for political good.

The time is now to demand MPs from all parties declare where they stand on healthcare, social care, private companies taking over our NHS, schools, prisons, public services and where they stand in regard to the dark looming shadow of Austerity. The time is now for ordinary people to step up and create an opposition to the lies and cultural brainwashing of 30yrs of the Austerity mantra.

Hope lies in ordinary people putting themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

That time surely is now.

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