In context that is 2% of the entire annual budget set aside for an unpopular and counter productive ‘reorganisation’. . And apparently it will have to do the same in the coming financial year. It’s hard to process numbers in the billions – when Andy Burnham was quoting £3 billion plus and the Conservatives were saying more like £1 billion it’s hard to actually visualise what that means. But it’s easier to imagine what a health care trust that covers Reading and West Berkshire could do with £25 million – that’s a lot of nurses and midwives, and even Robbie the robot’ that the Royal Berks has been fundraising for is only £1million over 3 years. Just imagine what could have been done in the NHS locally with that £25 million.
What would I do differently? Well not have a massive ‘top down reorganisation’ that effectively privatises much of the NHS would be a good start. And then a proper focus on the real issues facing the UK in terms of health: firstly the ageing population and the lack of a nationally agreed join up with adult social care; secondly the need for a focus on prevention and ‘health’ rather than treating illness and thirdly the dilemma posed by the development of new treatments.
From a local press release:
Berkshire West Primary Care Trust was made to set aside £25,375,804 in 2011-12, 2% of its budget, to pay for the costs of Andrew Lansley’s reorganisation of the NHS, and the same %age is going to be required in 2012-13, says Cllr. Bet Tickner, Labour’s Lead Councillor for Health, quoting from a Business Case leaked from the Department of Health.
The total cost across England comes to £3.45Billion, which is the figure Labour has always quoted and the Tories have always denied.
“This news comes at a time,” Cllr. Tickner says, “when more and more jobs are being lost from the NHS (there are 4096 fewer nurses than there were at the general election), when waiting times for operations are getting longer and longer and the 18-week maximum wait established by Labour is being broken more and more frequently, and when some types of operations are just no longer being carried out at all. The last thing the NHS locally needs is £50M+ pinched from its budget over two years to pay for a reorganisation that nobody apart from Andrew Lansley wanted.”
“But of course the millionaires who got that big tax break from the budget will have no problems paying for private health care.”