Behind yesterday’s furore over those who may have died needlessly in hospital lie blunders that should be as alien as smallpox and diphtheria to a modern health service.
So we had better try reforming that health service so as to make it more modern, eh?
Most sinuously of all, Mr Hunt is aiming to downgrade the NHS from national religion to a somewhat dodgy cult liable to fail its disciples or, in extreme cases, kill them. Ending that sacred status is, in Labour’s fear, the prelude to softening up the public for a mass privatisation of health services.
If the old way of doing things really has been topping people left right and centre then perhaps something should be done?
By focusing on the past, and on Labour’s record, he and Mr Hunt hope to avoid the awkward question of the present and the future. Over-65s are set to triple by 2074, social care for the elderly is in chaos and NHS spending, which has averaged a four per cent annual rise since its inception, is flat-lining.
Yes, this special inflation rate is exactly why we do want to bring in some semblance of markets. For such Baumol\’s Cost Disease inflation and productivity increases are the flip sides of each other. If we don\’t have rising productivity then we will indeed, in a service, have higher than general inflation. The solution to which is to try and raise productivity. Which is best done in a market rather than planned environment.
And yet, with demography and demand stacked against it, it accounts for 9.6 per cent of GDP, compared to 17.9 per cent in the US for far worse care.
And the 9% average of GDP across Europe where the care is far better. It\’s the method of organisation at fault, not the budget.