- Created: Thursday, 01 February 2018 14:48
- Written by Robert Clough
The NHS is going through its worst crisis since it was set up nearly 70 years ago. Years of underfunding have had their inevitable consequence. Newspaper headlines tell part of the story: thousands of patients each week having to wait in ambulances before they can be admitted into A&E; A&E departments designed to treat 350 patients a day that are seeing 500 to 700; wait times in A&E that are growing longer and longer while bed occupancy runs at 95%, way above the safe maximum of 85%. The government tells lies about how the service is coping: it does not care that 55,000 patients have had their operations delayed, including many thousands of cancer sufferers. Robert Clough reports.
Although the NHS is financed through taxation, taxes themselves are a deduction from the profits made through the exploitation of the working class. The ruling class is determined to ensure that such deductions are reduced to a minimum: hence the policy initiated by the ConDem coalition in 2010 and continued by the Tory government to choke off NHS funding, ensuring that it fails to meet the needs of the working class. The NHS budget needs to increase in real terms by 4% annually to meet the costs of new technology and drugs, but also because of an ageing population with more long-term health problems. But the average annual increase since 2010 has been just 1.2%, a level which the government intends to maintain until 2021. Whether it can will depend on the balance of class forces. So far the trade unions in the NHS have offered no meaningful resistance, despite a seven-year run of 1% pay caps or outright pay freezes, and constantly deteriorating conditions of work.