NHS Cash for New Labour SpAds

As Guido revealed yesterday, hard-left Tory-bashing think tank New Economics Foundation have curiously been the recipient of over £500,000 of funding from NHS England over the past three years. Now Guido can shed some more light how a load of funding ended up with a bunch of strident lefties rather than needful patients…

It turns out the New Economics Foundation were one of three organisations which awarded funding as part of the NHS England’s “Health as a Social Movement” programme which began in 2016, along with the RSA and Nesta. It just so happens that the CEOs of all three organisations at the time had something in common…

  • Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA. Head of No.10 Policy Unit under Tony Blair
  • Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta. Director of Policy under Tony Blair
  • Marc Stears, CEO of the NEF until 2017. Former speechwriter (and university flatmate) of Ed Miliband

Small world!

NHS England say:

“Following an open competitive process five years ago, three organisations were commissioned to help the NHS and its partners find ways to bring communities together to improve the health of local people through projects which tackled loneliness, improved cancer care and the quality of life of dementia patients, amongst others.”

The NHS insist that they were not simply giving the money to the NEF, it was as part of work they outsourced following a competitive tendering process. Which sounds a lot like NHS privatisation, funny how the NEF don’t seem to have such a problem with it when they’re the beneficiaries…

The NHS didn’t respond to Guido’s question of whether they foresaw any potential issues with appointing a highly politicised and partisan think tank with economics views well outside the mainstream. No doubt they’ll be evening out the balance by picking the IEA or the TPA for their next ‘social health’ privatisation partnership programme…

NHS Gave Hard-Left Tory-Bashing Think Tank Over Half-a-Million Pounds

Hard-left think tank New Economics Foundation have advocated a number of novel proposals for the economy in recent years including a four-day or even 21-hour working week and a Green Party idea of replacing GDP with a ‘Free Time Index’. They’ve adopted a range of positions on growth from “growth isn’t working” to “growth isn’t possible”, although their own dislike of economic growth doesn’t stop them from periodically attacking the Tories for apparently reducing economic growth via austerity policies. No wonder John McDonnell is a big fan

They’ve certainly not had any trouble with their own economic growth, their annual income is sitting at a healthy £3,517,793. What’s less healthy is the fact that £529,554 of their income over the last three years has come from NHS England. NHS England gave £234,919 last year alone, they were the NEF’s second-biggest source of income for 2017-8. The NHS could have spent that money on training new nurses or covering the cost of over 60,000 prescriptions, instead they’ve decided to give it to a hard-left think tank to bash the Tories…

Labour Continue Decades of Lying About the NHS

The NHS has been under Tory management for most of its life. At almost every election Labour claim that the NHS is under threat from “Tory Cuts”, yet the budget increases as ever. The new twist in their latest campaign is that Trump will be buying the NHS.

Once it was explained to Trump what the NHS was he excluded it from a trade deal, saying “But I don’t see [the NHS] as being, that’s something that I would not consider part of trade. That’s not trade.” Not that the Labour Party will interrupt decades of lying slogans about the future of the NHS…

UPDATE: Here’s US Ambassador Woody Johnson rubbishing the claims that the US wants to privatise the NHS just last week at the CPS’ Thatcher Conference:

NHS Brexit Scare Report Written by Diehard Remain Campaigners and Former Eurocrats

Fresh from publishing their mad new diet calling for people to eat only one-tenth of a sausage and a quarter of an egg a day – which naturally turned out to be authored by people who didn’t follow the diet themselves and funded by a globe-trotting billionaire with a private jet – once-esteemed medical journal The Lancet has done it again with a new Brexit scare paper this week. It just so happens that almost every author is either a diehard Remain campaigner or has extensive professional links with the EU…

  • The lead author is Nick Fahy, now a researcher at Oxford but who previously worked for over a decade in the European Commission. Naturally…
  • Next is Tamara Hervey, an EU-funded Jean Monnet Professor of European Law who amusingly describes herself as living in “Sheffield, Europe” on Twitter. Don’t tell her Sheffield voted to Leave…
  • David Stuckler is a committed anti-Austerity campaigner who authored a book subtitled “Why Austerity Kills” and has even blamed the rise of the Nazis on austerity. Cuckoo…
  • Mike Galsworthy will be familiar to most people as one of the prolific and obnoxious Remainiacs on Twitter, he is effectively a full-time commentator and campaigner and has founded Scientists for EU, Healthier IN the EU, Scientists for Labour and NHS Against Brexit. Literally the last person you would go to if you wanted a balanced and impartial view on Brexit…
  • Martin McKee is another full-on Remainiac, his Twitter account is festooned with #FBPE and a giant low-res EU flag. McKee is also a member of the European Commission’s ‘Expert Panel on Investing in Health’ and until recently was President of the EU-funded European Public Health Association. He co-founded Healthier IN the EU with Galsworthy, and to top it off was also a co-author on Stuckler’s paper blaming the Nazis on austerity. Full house!

Naturally this hasn’t stopped the media and smug Remainers like Peston from seizing upon the report like it is gospel truth. It might as well have been a European Commission press release…

BBC Disproves its own Brexit Medicines Scare Story

The BBC have been pushing a story all morning about a “surge in shortage of common medicines”, reporting that 80 medicines were on the “shortage of supply” list in December which the NHS can pay a premium for, “up from 45 in October”. Naturally they are trying to link it to Brexit with the entirely nebulous line that “there are now concerns that uncertainty over Brexit will only make the situation worse”. What the BBC fail to mention until much further down the article is that this number is actually down on the figure for November 2017. They even have a graph showing it…

Scroll down yet further and the article explicitly states: “Generic shortages started peaking in 2017, so it is not possible to say that this issue has arisen because we are so close to Brexit” before quoting Sandra Gidley, chairwoman of the English Pharmacy Board who was also a Liberal Democrat MP from 2000 to 2010. Her words: “Brexit is not a factor… Shortages have been a problem for some years. It’s a fluctuating problem.”

A furious Whitehall source said: “This sort of scaremongering is completely outrageous – and to have it coming from a broadcaster that is meant to act in the public interest is unacceptable.” When even a Lib Dem is saying Brexit is not to blame you know you’re on shaky ground…

Sunday Mirror Calls for NHS to be Marketised

The Sunday Mirror’s leader column this week took aim at Theresa May’s 10-year NHS plan, however their prescription is probably not what you’d expect from the Labour Party’s required reading: marketisation of the NHS. The paper calls for an end to the NHS being free at the point of use with wealthier patients now being forced to pay for their healthcare. Despite the fact they’ve already paid higher income tax and national insurance towards it…

“Mrs May’s 10-year plan for the health service is another opportunity for fundamental reform. The NHS has only been truly free at the point of use for three of its 70 years. Consideration must be given to the well-off contributing.”

Despite Labour’s perennial claims that the Tories are plotting to privatise the NHS, it’s the leftie Mirror that’s calling for marketisation of the health service first. Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth even had an op-ed of his own in the paper. Surely Labour can’t be plotting to privatise the NHS too…

That’s not to say that it would necessarily end up being a bad thing for the NHS. Charging rich patients to pay for non-vital procedures on the NHS could trigger an explosion of market mechanisms in UK healthcare, forcing the NHS to undergo marked-based reforms to keep up, or even catalysing a wholesale shift towards a more efficient European style social insurance-based system with improved patient outcomes overall. However, this would require broader liberalisation of the healthcare market to ensure genuine competition instead of a rigged and overly-expensive market. Not a caveat likely to make its way into the Mirror any time soon…

NHS Boss: No Medicine Shortages in Event of No Deal

Head of NHS England Simon Stevens has told Today that the NHS is on course to be fully prepared for a no deal exit from the European Union, confirming that, despite the scare stories, there will be no medicine shortages in the event of no deal:

“If everyone does what they are being asked to do, particularly around the transport and logistics infrastructure, then yes that will be the case.”

This confirms Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement over the weekend that he is “confident that we’ll have the unhindered supply of medicines so long as the plans that we have in place are properly enacted.” 

Stevens also took aim at some of the scare stories around post-Brexit staffing shortages, confirming that more non-EU migrants work in the NHS than EU migrants at the moment, and that after we have left the EU “there is no reason why we can’t get this right.” Maybe unrelenting Remainers should listen to the experts…

NHS Ranked 35th in the World for Health Care Efficiency

The NHS has plunged down the rankings in Bloomberg’s Health Care Efficiency Index this year, falling 14 positions from 21st to 35th. The UK now ranks below Algeria, Mexico, Costa Rica and China in the efficiency of its healthcare provision. The Top 10 is dominated by Asia-Pacific countries including Hong Kong, Korea and Australia. None of those countries have a single monolithic provider of socialised healthcare.

‘Healthcare reform’ does not mean adopting the US system wholesale as critics like to claim or pouring billions into an unreformed system – 16 other European countries manage to come in ahead of the UK, while the US languishes almost 20 places below. Politicians from all parties never tire of claiming that “Our NHS”TM is the envy of the world, this is simply not true…

Envy of the World Update

An independent panel has found:

  • At least 450 patients died after being given powerful painkillers inappropriately at Gosport Hospital
  • 200 more may have suffered a similar fate
  • there was a “disregard for human life” at the hospital
  • there was an “institutionalised regime” of prescribing and administering “dangerous” amounts of a medication
  • Dr Jane Barton, who oversaw the “practice of prescribing”, was found guilty of failings in her care of 12 patients but was not struck off

NHS staff closed ranks to cover this up. How many times?

Health Minister Admits NHS Spending Funded Entirely By Taxes For Years

Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price admits the obvious: there is no Brexit dividend while we continue to pay our subs to the EU. That means no Brexit dividend until at least two years after Brexit. Which means the new NHS spending during those years will be paid for entirely out of taxes (and possibly borrowing). In reality the vast majority of the money will come from taxes after the transition period is over as well. Which is not what Number 10 is trying to spin us…

Onward to Higher Taxes

The government currently has no idea how it wants to raise taxes to pay for the £20 billion-a-year funding increase for the NHS. Step forward Tory MP Neil O’Brien, the former Osborne SpAd who recently co-founded the Onward think tank, with a proposal: freezing the personal allowance for two years. His plan to effectively hike taxes for all voters will raise £4 billion a year, which still leaves a huge black hole.

Labour’s policy is to whack the super-rich with new taxes. This Tory plan proposes to stop low earners, middle class voters and everyone else from keeping more of the money they earn. Which one do they think the public are going to vote for? The Tories are shifting the Overton window way to the left, fighting on Corbyn’s territory, and leaving people with no reason to vote Conservative. This madness is only going to make it more likely Corbyn gets into Number 10…

How Dominic Cummings Cost Taxpayers £20 Billion

Months ago Dominic Cummings was shopping around polling that he had done showing that the Tories could win the next election almost only by conceding the NHS argument and splurging more money on it. Remember Boris going public on the need to spend more money on the NHS at the beginning of the year? He had seen the polling and been won over by the argument. Which of course also conveniently solved that exhortion-on-the-side-of-a-bus problem for Boris which obstructed, like a stalled bus, the path to him becoming PM. Theresa May today calling the £20 billion NHS spending hike “a Brexit dividend” paves the way for Boris to argue at either a leadership hustings or a general election that the government has delivered on the exhortion he made. That’s why he’s happy…

Jeremy Hunt of course wanted the money, as all Health Secretaries do, whatever he spins about threatening to resign it wasn’t his pleading alone that won the day. Brexiters in government are being bought off by Theresa May, Leave-backing ministers have consistently demanded that the Brexit dividend be spent on the NHS. Given the PM is about to deliberately deliver the de minimis Brexit possible consistent with actually exiting the EU, giving Leavers in government a win to point at is a necessary lubricant for the shafting they are about to get. Whatever your view of the likely magnitude of the Brexit dividend it is clear that it will not be reaped for a good few years yet. This NHS splurge is about politics and will be funded by increased borrowing and delaying the balancing of the budget for a generation. Electorally it takes away Corbyn’s best card, out-flanking him on spending on the NHS…

The Conservative Party in parliament and in the country will swallow it because they would privatise their grandmothers to stop Corbyn and McDonnell getting into Downing Street. Cummings is now one step closer to being chief-of-staff to Prime Minister Boris… or Gove.

May: NHS Spending Will Be Paid For With Tax Rises

Theresa May and the Number 10 spin team have done an impressive job of getting ‘NHS spending funded by Brexit dividend’ as the top line on broadcast this morning. The truth is the vast majority of the new money is going to come from tax rises equivalent to 3p on the basic rate of income tax. The Tories are refusing to say how or when the tax rises are coming. So far they are getting away with a completely uncosted policy and massive mystery tax rises. This is the Tory magic money tree…

No.10 Sounding Out Tory MPs Over NHS Tax

Tory MPs have been asked for their views on a new NHS tax in the clearest indication yet that Number 10 is considering hiking taxes to increase funding for the health service. In multiple meetings with Theresa May’s aides, MPs have been asked for their views on both a hypothecated tax and a general tax rise. Downing Street has detected some support – an NHS tax should theoretically clear the Commons as Labour could hardly vote against. Jeremy Hunt has previously claimed the public supports “contributing more through the tax system”, though Philip Hammond has argued against a ringfenced tax. The Tories are expected to announce a major funding boost for the NHS on its 70th anniversary on July 5.

The tax burden is already now higher than it was under the dead hand of Gordon Brown in 2009 and it will, if the OBR is correct, hit a level not seen for two generations. The day at which the average person starts to keep what they earn rather than pay it to the state in taxes is now later than at any time since 1995 – even worse than under new Labour. Britain now has a higher tax burden than Spain, the share of GDP taken in tax is a full 10 points higher than it is in Ireland and 8 points higher than the traditionally low tax USA. If the Tories want to spend more on the NHS it can be done without raising taxes – that wasn’t on the side of the bus.

Strict Rules For NHS ‘Dress for Diversity Day’

Diversity managers across the NHS have been firing off emails telling staff that next Wednesday will be ‘Dress for Diversity Day’. “The idea is to encourage everyone to come to work in either their national dress (if they have one) or whatever they feel comfortable in,” wrote one diversity manager. It’s all to raise money for the Bloodwise charity. Yet NHS workers have been somewhat bemused by the FAQ document they’ve been given, which explains that many of their national outfits won’t meet strict guidelines about what frontline staff are allowed to wear:

  • Hands, wrists and lower arms must be free from clothing or jewellery
  • Jewellery, including therapeutic items, must be removed or completely covered
  • A maximum of two studs or sleeper earrings (with a diameter no greater than the size of a five pence piece) per ear are permitted
  • Dress/Skirt lengths must not be worn above the knee
  • Hair that is longer than collar length must be tied back
  • Shoes or boots must completely cover feet (front, side and heel) to provide effective protection. Shoes must be black or navy, with a low heel and laces must match. Suede, fabric or any materials that cannot be properly cleaned are not permitted
  • Boots are not permitted to be worn
  • Tights must be plain black, navy or skin coloured
  • Trousers must be formal, denim is not permitted
  • Clothes must be of a conservative nature with a modest neckline
  • Make-up, when worn, should be discreet

Sensible rules, but can’t help feeling that’ll spoil half the fun. And don’t forget the main rule of diversity managers everywhere: no cultural appropriation! 

Majority Say They Don’t Mind if Hospitals Are Run By Government or Privately

The majority of British voters don’t mind if hospitals are run by the government or privately and say the NHS needs to be reformed more than it needs extra cash, a landmark poll has found. The study, commissioned by the Reform think tank, revealed:

  • 58% of people somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement that the NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money;
  • 64% of voters think it should not matter whether hospitals are run by the government, charities or the private sector, providing all have access to them;
  • 74% agree or strongly agree that the government could make services better and reduce tax if it cut waste and reformed public services.

Time for that Royal Commission MPs have been privately calling for…

IEA’s Kate Andrews Schools Alan Johnson and Anna Soubry on Swiss Health System

As Alan Johnson and Anna Soubry blindly defended the NHS despite being confronted with dire statistics on its health outcomes, Kate Andrews of the Institute of Economic Affairs made a compelling case for reform on This Week. Soubs and Johnson showing politicians see the NHS as a religion as they treated Kate’s sensible suggestions as heresy… 

Jeremy Hunt v Donald Trump

President Trump tweets criticising the NHS:

Jeremy Hunt hits back:

Worth noting that Tory MPs and advisers are now openly talking about a Royal Commission on the future of the NHS…

Thousands of Doctors On Ski Trips During ‘Winter Crisis’

Thousands of doctors are missing from hospitals and GPs’ surgeries during the ‘Winter Crisis’ because they are on jollies to medical conferences at 5 star ski resorts. A Guido probe found doctors are encouraged to book luxury foreign trips deliberately scheduled during the most pressured time of year for the health service. The conferences fulfil mandatory NHS ‘continuing professional development’ (‘CPD’) requirements in the form of lectures and training measured by the hour. But free time is spent skiing and enjoying the apres ski scene in some of the world’s most desirable destinations. Many doctors are allowed to charge their NHS trust for part costs of the trips, effectively subsidising their skiing holidays…

Despite the creaking NHS enduring some of its busiest weeks in decades:

  • 500 doctors are on a four night trip to posh Val d’Isere, France this month;
  • 80 urologists are on a trip to classy Corvara in the Italian Dolomites at the same time;
  • Dozens more medics will miss the ‘Winter Crisis’ to be lectured on ‘expedition medicine’ while skiing in iconic Chamonix this month;
  • Dozens more will depart this Saturday for Zurs, Austria, where they will be lectured by NHS consultants from London and Hertfordshire;
  • If sunnier climes are required, the Royal College of Physicians is taking dozens of medics to Yangon, Burma, for a ‘communications skills’ course.

As doctors launch campaign after campaign against the government and are increasingly weaponised by Labour, NHS users will be forgiven for asking… Why are they hitting the slopes?

Now Channel 4 Fails to Tell Viewers “Junior Doctor” is Labour Poster Boy

Broadcasters keep putting up seasoned Labour campaigners to slag off the government about the NHS without informing audiences of their highly partisan political views.[…] Read the rest

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