I published a post this morning about Treasury minister Sajid Javid’s lies, on his website, to his constituents about NHS spending. In spite of a rebuke from the UK Statistics Authority over the falsity of Tory claims to have increased NHS spending ‘in each year of this Parliament’, Javid (along with at least 4 other Tory MPS and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt), persists in this claim, blatantly lying to the British people and to Parliament.
I also touched on his hypocrisy in inviting Daniel Poulter, another liar, on the record, to one of his own party’s MPs about plans to cut a local hospital, to come and visit the Alexandra (‘Alex’) hospital in Redditch to talk about the importance of local hospitals to local communities.
But that wasn’t the limit of his hypocrisy, and I promised to provide more detail as to why it is utterly disingenuous of Javid – who is Economic Secretary to the Treasury – to try to convince his constituents that he is fighting for their cherished local hospital.
According to reports, the NHS outside London ran in surplus by £45m, while across the greater London area overall it ran at a deficit of £95m – including £65m at South London Healthcare Trust which is supposedly in a financial crisis so irretrievable that it has led to the Trust being put into administration. Media reports abound of the supposed ‘crisis’ of ‘unsustainable’ NHS Trusts, usually accompanied by mention of the possibility of inviting private companies to take over these ‘struggling’ hospitals.
The problem is that most members of the public don’t know any better than to believe what they read in the papers and hear in the news. And the problem with these reports are that they are – to put it moderately – completely misleading.
Speaking of the ‘Nicholson Challenge’, the Dept of Health’s official website still says that the £20 billion savings to be achieved by 2015 will be (not may be) ‘reinvested in frontline care’:
According to the Audit Commission report to the Commons Health Select Committee (CHSC), which I’ve managed to obtain even though written evidence is not freely available to the public:
PCTs, SHAs and NHS trusts reported a combined underspend and surplus of £1.6 billion in 2011/12. NHS foundation trusts (FTs) recorded a surplus of £0.4 billion, giving a total surplus of £2 billion
That’s right – the NHS amassed a surplus of £2 billion in a single financial year. That’s 15 times more than it would take to wipe out the entire deficit of NHS hospitals in the London area, even if you don’t offset the £45bn positive balance built up by hospitals across the rest of the country as a whole.
According to the Dept of Health, these savings should be reinvested in front-line NHS services. But it’s not happening.
And here’s where Javid’s hypocrisy – like that of his party – goes so high up the scale that it blows the top off.
Javid is a senior Treasury minister.
Among other written evidence to the CHSC that I’ve obtained is a reference to a statement by HM Treasury that £1.4 billion of the surplus had been ‘clawed back’ by the Treasury “to help fund the freeze in council tax, major infrastructure projects and other key areas of public spending not related to health“.
This is echoed in the very revealing email by an NHS Finance Director, which I published a few months ago. Discussing the drive to push down the pay of NHS workers to achieve the Nicholson Challenge, this FD wrote:
The question which is the really difficult one is the belief that if pay is cut or frozen but with other related cuts, will the Treasury say thank you very much and steal the savings leaving the NHS in just as bad a situation as it is currently facing, and probably worse. This is the biggest issue. No one trusts the Treasury and we have already seen it steal carry forward money built up to help the NHS over the years ahead.
‘We have already seen it steal..money built up to help the NHS over the years ahead.’ Exactly what the Treasury has now confirmed (using the euphemistic ‘clawed back’) it has done.
The £1.4 billion stolen from the NHS by the Treasury in a single financial year would be enough to completely wipe out the deficits of struggling hospitals – with enough left over to ensure that the Alex in Redditch, Kettering General Hospital and others like them can continue to provide crucial, life-saving services to their local people, and to pay the salaries of the 7,000 nurses who have lost their jobs under this wolf-in-scrubs government (around £140m, assuming an average of £20k per year), with plenty to spare.
The NHS – as the NHA party recently pointed out (although they appear to have taken the article down temporarily for an update) – is a single entity. The debts of one hospital do not have to be treated in isolation, and there is no reason whatsoever why the government cannot use surpluses in one area to cancel deficits in another, avoiding any need for ‘special measures’ or administration. If it chooses to.
That it doesn’t do so is an ideological and strategic choice, aimed at making the NHS appear unsustainable, so that the government can claim it is ‘forced’ to find ‘solutions’ to the problem-that-isn’t-really.
But instead, despite all the government’s ludicrous claims to be protecting the NHS and even increasing spending, the cash is syphoned away – stolen by Osborne, Javid and their department.
The examples of this government’s mendacity and hypocrisy are almost too many to count, and they multiply faster than rabbits. But statements and posturing about the NHS provide among the clearest examples of the utter hypocrisy of the party that promised it would ‘cut the deficit, not the NHS‘.
There are no words strong enough or vivid enough to describe the jaw-dropping disingenuousness of Sajid Javid – senior minister of Her Majesty’s Treasury – in claiming to be fighting for the survival of his constituents’ local hospital when enough surplus money was there all along to put its future beyond doubt.
But even his startling insincerity pales into nothingness compared to that of his party as a whole, as it continues to claim it can be trusted with the NHS even as it bleeds our national treasure dry with complete disregard for the wishes and welfare of patients, health-workers and the public at large.
If their lips are moving, they’re lying – especially if they’re talking about the NHS.