The ConDems to sack 170,000 NHS staff

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A week ago neither the Lib Dems or Tories could specify where the cuts in public services were to fall. But the NHS was definitely safe.

Now we know from the London Evening Standard that they want to cut more than £20 billion from this front line, protected service. All waste, of course.

The sheer hypocrisy of this is staggering. Have not a shadow of a doubt they knew they were going to do this last week. They just forgot to tell the electorate.  That’s at least £5 billion a year over the targeted period – and in reality it seems its likely to be somewhat more.

Now I’m not saying there is no waste to eliminate in the NHS. They could, for example, centralise management and get rid of swathes of Primary Care Trusts. It’s hard to work out why these bodies need to duplicate so many roles – including local medical web sites, different formularies for for different parts of the country, and much more besides.

The whole process of treating the NHS as a market could be swept away – and vast amounts of accounting with it.

Foundation status could be be abolished for hospitals.

PFI could be swept from the system, with massive cost benefits.

These would be ethical cuts. But there is no way on earth these savings could deliver all that is being demanded, not when demand on the NHS itself will be growing. Not by a very, very long way.

Put this in context. The NHS costs £100bn a year to run. It employs about 1,700,000 people although many are part time and full time equivalent numbers may be lower.

60% of the budget is staff, 20% medical supplies and 20% overheads such as buildings.

Assuming that the NHS remains local there won’t be too many premises closed.

And assuming that there isn’t going to be a cut in services medical supply costs won’t fall massively. In fact, due to an aging population that proportion is highly likely to rise.

So the savings will have to come from staff, and will be well in excess of £5 bn a year, becasue we’re told that will be the case and drugs costs will rise. Let’s call it £6bn a year.

£6 billion saved from the staff budget of about £60 bn means in that case  job cuts of 170,000.

And this form just one public service.

That guarantees not just double dip recession – but a recession of epic proportions.

This is the reality of the ConDems cuts plan – cuts we do not need.

And remember to ask yourself what these people are all going to do – except swell the ranks of the unemployed and claim benefits?  After all there is no demand for their services from the private sector – because there is already mass unemployment – and those people are not choosing extended holidays as neo-classical economists assume. They can’t find work.

And then what the NHS is to do without them whilst all those made redundant sit at home doing nothing at taxpayer’s expense when they could be providing health services.

Are doctors to be their own receptionists?

Are they also to type their own referral letters and still do ten minute patient appointments?

And file all their own records?

And push trolleys round hospitals?

And will care for the vulnerable – especially the mentally ill disappear?

And will preventative medicine be a thing of the past?

Along with the two week cancer rule?

And midwifery?

I could go on – but the madness is now revealed. The plan is to create mass unemployment whilst massively increasing state spending on benefits, all to ensure countless people will die from a  lack of care.

This is what you’re to be ConDemed to.