It was disclosed last week that the Tories have removed a handful of pre-election pledges from the Party website. Airbrushed out are the promises that there would be no top down reorganisation of the NHS and a guarantee to safeguard Sure Start Centres.
It is glaringly obvious why both pledges were broken but the shameless cynicism of this deletion is breathtaking. No wonder politicians bump along at bottom place in the Ipsos Mori Poll that asks us to choose who we most trust to be truthful. GPs come in at top place in this Mori Poll. GPs recently warned that services face chaos due to the funding crisis, in particular the £20 billion so called “efficiency savings”.
David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt were ordered by the UK Statistics Authority to stop claiming NHS spending had increased because they found health funds had fallen.
So why would anyone believe Cameron’s sincerity regarding his latest announcement of criminal sanctions against “wilful neglect or mistreatment”? Cameron’s blatant misrepresentation of the report into the failures at Mid Staffordshire Hospital by Robert Francis made even ex Tory Health Ministers blush.
Of course health professionals and NHS managers should be accountable as they are by professional regulation (for every omission or commission of care) and by existing legislation.
There are a number of elements that if overlooked compromise patient welfare. The first is the ratio of staff to patients, their training and encouragement to report care shortcomings. The second is a management structure that overrides clinical judgement, commonly such overrides are rooted in a lack of resources. A third is the disrespectful attitude toward support staff; key workers such as health care assistants are often last in line for training, are among the lowest paid and in many wards are hopelessly overworked.
The coalition government inherited an NHS which had achieved its highest level of patient satisfaction.
As Mid Staffordshire shows, a service that covers the British Isles, delivered by over one million people is complex and occasionally gets things wrong. But ask yourself, will the spending cuts, costly top-down reorganisation, privatisation, fragmentation and competition between NHS hospitals help or hinder improving healthcare delivery?
Will the crushing cuts to local government budgets that severely ration social care such as home help for the elderly, help prevent hospital admissions?
The Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS. Not now. Not ever.