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NHS: Penny on Tax or Go Private

May 15, 2017 1:00 PM
By Jordan Williams

NHS LogoAs the Conservatives continue to savage public services, our flagship NHS lurches from crisis to crisis. Chaos reigns.

Lack of proper funding and demonstratively weak government leadership is to blame. Highly-trained and hardworking doctors and nurses are leaving in droves. Critical staff shortages are commonplace; waiting times continue to grow (350,000 patients wait for major surgery for more than 18 weeks) and almost every hospital struggles to cope with too few beds - numbers cut back despite a growing number of elderly people as the baby boomers age.

Getting treatment and drugs for certain conditions throughout the UK is a lottery - the drugs are available but the money to pay for them often is not. The result is painfully obvious - unnecessary suffering and even death. Those who can afford to do so pay privately; those who cannot pay wait with increasing uncertainty.

"Things can only get worse in our area, particularly if the current downgrading continues at Kent and Canterbury hospital." comments Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet, Jordan Williams. "This cost-saving measure will only cause increasing pressure on the already over-subscribed QEQM."

Once the envy of the world, we now rank well below other European countries in health care provision. According to OECD research, the UK has slipped down the international league table of health-spending, falling behind Iceland, Slovenia and Finland. The 2015/16 accounts show that nearly two-thirds of all trusts ended the year in deficit, states the Kings Fund. Nearly three-quarters of trusts in deficit were acute hospitals. And the recent cyber-attack is said by many to have been made possible because of an IT system which has not been updated due to funding restrictions.

"It doesn't need to be like this, " stresses Williams.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to increase income tax by a penny for every earner to go into a £6bn/year, ring-fenced cash injection for the NHS, Social Care and Public Health.

"A penny in the pound to save the NHS is money well spent in our view," says Norman Lamb, the Party's Health Spokesperson. An opinion poll finding from last year suggested that 70% of voters would back a 1p rise in income tax if the money was guaranteed to go to the NHS.

"It's your choice," says Jordan Williams. "By supporting the Liberal Democrat party, you will be ensuring that our NHS is once more fit for the modern world. The alternative is not an option."