One fact that taxes the band of dubiously talented non-job holders at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) severely is that the NHS continues to exist, some 65 years after its inception via the efforts of Aneurin Bevan, and in the teeth of Tory opposition. So today brings the headline “We pay £1,900 a year for the NHS: we deserve better than this”.
More bore from the second floor
Non-job holder Chris Manby asserts that “The NHS costs every taxpayer an average of £1,900 every year” (no citation), and clearly wants readers to believe that hospitals in special measures are typical of the whole (they aren’t). Then there is routine dishonesty, such as: “In recent months the NHS has come under fire in the Keogh Review, which revealed that potentially 13,000 patients may have died unnecessarily across 14 trusts”.
Had Manby bothered to read the report by Bruce Keogh, he would know that no such figure – or, indeed, any figure for patient deaths – was given. These numbers were effectively invented by papers like the Maily Telegraph which had invested its efforts trying to make the report sound bad, even before publication.
So what’s his beef? “You really do have to wonder at the audacity of a system that encourages managers to cover up failures rather than improve patient care”. Ah, a mere “system” has audacity, and encourages cover-ups? Wrong. A very small number of people working in that system are responsible for what happened at Colchester – one part of just one hospital.
“Depending on the measure, the NHS is the world’s fifth biggest employer”. I’m sorry, but this is relevant how, exactly? Well, this is his excuse: “But a significant number of staff are employed on duties other than patient care”. Yes Chris, and if there were not managers, cleaners, technicians, IT support staff, and receptionists, the whole thing would quickly grind to a halt.
Manby attempts to rally his cause by telling that the TPA produced a report two years ago critical of the NHS, but sadly for him, Zelo Street was then as now on the case, and can advise that all this achieved was to let slip that the NHS is getting closer to mainland European countries that spend more, by improving constantly over the past 25 years (the TPA excuses this by saying it won’t do in the future).
He concludes valiantly “We desperately need a healthcare system that offers us real value for money. As it stands, the NHS wastes too much money and is too centralised. Evidence shows that choice and competition drive up standards”. No citation is given in support of these assertions. In any case, we know what the TPA is selling – abolition of the NHS. And the public, in their wisdom, are not buying.
So that’s meaningless drivel backed up by no facts. No change there, then.