In this article for the Byline Times, Consultant David Oliver analyses claims by media and political commentators about spending, waste and inefficiency in healthcare and proposes a ten point plan to restore services to their 2010 level.
He looks at the following claims:
- “The NHS has has plenty of money pumped into it by this Government and well above inflation.”
- “We are funded as well, if not better than many/most systems now, so resource is not an excuse”
- "This Government has recruited X thousand additional nurses and Y thousand additional doctors”
- “We need to move towards a European style social insurance based model as those systems have better outcomes and no other country has copied the NHS”
- “The NHS wastes far too much money on useless, overpaid managers and people in non-jobs”
- “People should take more responsibility for their own health so we can become a wellness service not an illness service"
- The NHS is in need of root and branch reform but always resists it."
Ten point plan to tackle the problems faced by the NHS
- Train enough staff at home to meet future workforce needs
- Have a proper short, medium and long term workforce plan for health and social care
- Treat existing staff better and more flexibly to help retention and morale
- Use ethical immigration policy to attract and keep key workforce groups who trained overseas or come here for lower paid but vital care work
- Reverse the cuts in bed capacity and invest more in capital expenditure on buildings, facilities, equipment and functioning IT
- Come up with a long term sustainable plan for social care funding and provision, reverse the cuts and plan for future rises in care needs
- Invest properly in public health and prevention policy – addressing wider determinants of preventable ill health across the life course, health inequalities and inequalities in access to healthcare and ensure that health is a key part of all public policy making
- Accept that this focus on prevention does involve state intervention in key areas around housing, education, food, drink, obesity, smoking and mental health.
- Level with the public about what can realistically be expected in terms of access, wait time, staffing and the time it will take to recover from the disruption caused by covid. Better to under promise and over deliver rather than vice versa
- Restore annual funding increases to the NHS to at least the historic average