MP's words are misleading

It was a relief to see another column from our MP on June 21. It's always interesting to see which aspects of government policy she thinks need pushing. This time it was the environment and the NHS.

Saturday, 30th June 2018, 9:00 am

On the NHS, I join with Mrs Trevelyan in welcoming the newly promised £20billion by 2023/4. However, what she omits or emphasises gives the impression that all will now be well and that the NHS is safe in Tory hands. Intentionally or otherwise, her words are misleading.

‘Funding has often been inconsistent’. Since the Tories came to power in 2010, government funding of the NHS has indeed been consistent – and always well below previous average rises.

I’m pleased that ‘much-needed investments’ in new technologies, etc is at last recognised. Those needs have been largely unmet since 2010.

‘Securing the future of the NHS’. Not yet. Experts say that the promised £20billion five years down the line will barely hold the line. To meet even the necessary changes recognised by the government, we need to spend not 3.4% more but 4%.

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‘£394million a week’ – deliberate echoes of that discredited bus which some Leave leaders have now admitted was a lie. The PM said this sum could be paid for largely from a ‘Brexit dividend’ – which isn’t as big as claimed, won’t arrive until after 2023/4, and is ‘spent’ already on such things as the divorce bill, covering the lower tax revenues caused by Brexit so far, paying farmers, or high level research costs. This sort of economics is called ‘having your cake and eating it’.

Finally, of course ‘This plan must ensure’ there is no waste etc. True, but why emphasise it when the NHS is amongst the most cost efficient health systems in the world. National health costs as a percentage of GDP are UK 9%, Germany etc. 11%, U.S. 16%.

Insisting on yet more efficiency savings will sap further the morale of our stressed NHS staff.

Readers will judge whether Mrs Trevelyan’s words were misleading from a lack of thought, a lack of research or for party advantage.

Peter Watts

Berwick-upon-Tweed