A gap in the logic here

The chart below from our Healthy Finances report shows why we’re having [a] row [about NHS funding]. If the government doesn’t announce quite a bit more cash for the NHS, average annual spending growth is on course to be lower this decade than at any other time in the NHS’s history. Real terms per capita spending is set to grow by an average of just 0.4 per cent a year between 2010-11 and 2019-20, down from an average of 5.9 per cent a year in the preceding decade.

As the chart makes clear, that’s the lowest spending increase since the 50s. No wonder the NHS is in crisis. And no wonder some of us say that’s entirely by choice.

The desired spending increase is well above economic growth or any likely level of economic growth. Thus the desired level of spending increases must, ineluctably, mean that the NHS swallow an ever greater portion of the economy. At which point does this stop?

Alternatively, what’s the problem with trying to make the NHS more efficient rather than just increasing the level of inputs?

13 comments on “A gap in the logic here

  1. The only way to make the NHS more efficient is to prosecute the criminally negligent, sack the bureaucracy supervising the negligent with confiscation of pensions and permanent disbarring from future public employment. Anything else is just theatre. Ecks! Please take over!

  2. This can funded for a very long time by dismantling the education system.
    The education system can continue its increase in funding for years by dismantling the NHS.
    Popcorn please.

  3. You should try having this argument with Wrong-Lewis. As far as I can tell, he wants NHS funding to grow ad infinitum without any reference to GDP

  4. I haven’t checked his chart and am on slow WiFi so searching is difficult, but IIRC NHS funding declined in real terms in at least one year year during Jim Callaghan’s premiership, ‘78 I think. For the rest of his term it wasn’t much better.

  5. ‘Alternatively, what’s the problem with trying to make the NHS more efficient rather than just increasing the level of inputs?’

    Now you are just being silly.

    To do that they would have to fire half the staff and make the rest actually work.

  6. A friend of mine is suffering a recurrence of a problem she has had on occasions for years.
    She knows the treatment she needs and the hospital department she needs to get an appointment with. The GP knows all that too. They both know that the sooner the treatment starts, the sooner and more cheaply the problem will be cleared up.
    However this time, for the first time since she was first diagnosed, she can’t just be referred by the GP directly to that department, she has to first wait for a unnecessary appointment with a specialist and only then inevitably be referred to the hospital department who will actually do the work.

    This type of process seems to be increasingly common in my experience. The NHS simultaneously pleads poverty while introducing needless, time-wasting and more expensive layers of bureaucracy with the added bonus of increasing patient suffering and in many cases, non-productivity.

  7. @JS
    This type of thing is usually done so that ‘targets’ appear to be met. A friend has been waiting for a hip replacement and has gone through the same sort of rigmarole.

  8. Concern for cost and money by the people who insist on paying.

    Cost decisions should be made by the patient, not the provider. As long as government is the provider, they will make the money decisions. If you die, too bad. At least you didn’t have to pay for the [2nd rate] medical. Not paying is more important than not dying.

    Resistance is futile.

  9. A Mr Gordon “Cyclops” Brown threw shedloads of extra money into NHS in 2000-2010.

    Did anyone see any improvement?

    I didn’t.

    All that happened was salary increases for all and a doubling of number of bureaucrats.

  10. The batshit insane Murphy wants the NHS to act like a great vampire squid* sucking the life out of the economy and the population until it has consumed us all. Whereupon, whence shall it feed?

    *Kudos to Taibbi

  11. Simples. Not about money. “If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got”.

    We’re doomed, Captain Mainwaring.

  12. It’s not just the NHS that has put stupid bureaucratic shit in the way of getting the job done. Ten years ago when I renewed my passport, I rocked up at the British Embassy, gave them a photo and some money, filled out a form and got the new one within 36 hours. Now I have to do it online, post the old passport to the UK, and wait a month for them to post the new one back. Apparently this is “streamlining the process”. Cunts.

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