24 hours to save the NHS? Remember that Labour PR spin from the eve of the 1997 election? Looks like from the depths of his bunker, Gordon Brown is once more on the attack using the NHS as a weapon to gain political capital. This morning, the BBC ran the spin that the NHS is facing its biggest organisational and financial challenge ever and will not survive unless it changes and is cut down. (No explanation why it all meltsdown from 2011 — hello Alister Darling!!) This scaremonger was used to entice the gormless Conservative Andrew Lansley into pledging that his party would lavish even more cash on this much loved by the BBC Stalinist construct. Then later on,McDoom weighed in to complain about Tory cuts, using the BBC interview with Lansley. Why it’s almost as if it were co-ordinated! The BBC – doing the jobs that Labour won’t do.

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  1. Grant says:

    I think this is a tricky one for the BBC. Since this government has been in power for 12 years and tripled expenditure on the NHS , why has the service declined ? Whose fault is it ? Where has all the money gone ?


  2. iq says:

    Why is no one stating the obvious? The influx of immigrants, and all their health problems, is bringing the NHS to its knees. Not to mention the cost of translators and interpreters…


  3. MarkE says:

    I should have known better, but I made the following comment on HYS in response to the (boringly predictable) "The NHS is the envy of the world" trotted out every time the country's largest (and worst) employer is mentioned:

    "Those who say the NHS is the envy of the world have been mislead; I have worked overseas and in the UK with foreign ex pats and I have never heard any foreigner, even the most Anglophile, include the NHS (or incidently the BBC) among the things they envy most in the UK. Even colleagues from less developed countries don't envy the NHS – they envy countries with good healthcare arrangements."

    Maybe I could have got away with honesty about the NHS, but the NHS and the BBC in the same comment. God I was naive.


  4. MarkE says:


    Maybe the previous comment would have made a bit more sense if I had actually said it was still unpublished, while later comments (including one from me) are up there.


  5. Grant says:

    MarkE 4:33
    If you have the time, try exactly the same wording, excluding the reference to the BBC and see if it gets through !


  6. Emperor Zog (All Hail Zog!) says:

    My apologies if this is generally known, but it so boggles my mind I'd hope it's worth sharing:

    The NHS is the third largest employer in the world. Behind only Indian Railways and the Chinese Army.

    1.3 million NHS employees on the state teat – who can really be surprised if the budget is permanently out of control ?


  7. Anonymous says:

    Mark Easton report on the 6 O’clock news into MP’s failing to declare outside interests during debates etc…

    Three MP’s fingered – 2 Conservative, 1 Labour – I’ve no problem with that, but why was the party affiliation of the 2 Tory MP’s mentioned in the commentary of the report, whilst the party affiliation of their Labour colleague, was not?

    Same news program… in the introduction we were told that Tory’s stood accused of planning 10% cut in Public services. But Labour has also been accused of planning a similar cut today – so why wasn’t the headline, both main parties accused of 10% cut? And before any New Labour trolls deny the validity of this claim, check out Stephanie Flanders blog – even the BBC’s economics editor accepts that Gordon is planning such a cut…


  8. Robert S. McNamara says:

    The NHS is the third largest employer in the world. Behind only Indian Railways and the Chinese Army.

    1.3 million NHS employees on the state teat – who can really be surprised if the budget is permanently out of control ?

    Holy shit. No wonder the BBC gets all fizzy in the knickers over it.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Just the ammunition Labour needed "Conservatives will cut services".. When will David Cameron wise up to the BBC? he should have known better than to allow "gormless" Andrew Lansley to give the BBC such propaganda.Before any interview is given to the BBC the subject should be discussed at Conservative head office and the interview participant briefed and forewarned.


  10. John Bosworth says:

    I just visited It's a hoot.
    He describes his task ahead as:

    "First to clean up politics, secondly to push forward with our economic recovery and third to ensure the best opportunities for people through reformed public services that are tailored and far more responsive to people’s needs."

    And I think the PM has been reading Obama's teleprompt – or is it the other way round?

    "As we have responded to the economic crisis by taking control of our banks, aggressively fighting repossessions and preventing higher unemployment, so too we are wrestling today with stabilising and supporting Britain’s car industry and building the foundations for Britain’s prosperity…"

    I think Daniel Hannon's right. The poor fellow just doesn't get it!


  11. Grant says:

    Zog 6:02
    If only the NHS was as efficient as Indian Railways and the Chinese Army.
    I believe the NHS is also the largest employer in Europe. Almost unbelievable.


  12. dave s says:

    I bet myself a tenner that the BBC would lead on the 6pm news with Tory 10% cuts. I lost but did come second.
    Pure drivel again masquerading as news. Propaganda really I suppose. The BBC cannot conceive of life without an infinite pool of taxpayers money. After all that is how it is financed.
    When the second banking crisis hits later this year- the big one over commercial property- cuts will be the least of our problems.
    They- the politicians and their tame media- treat us like fools.


  13. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    The NHS provides very poor quality Health Care but provides Labour with a very effective Political Service. The voters are trapped in it – because they have not set aside any other resources to meet their health care needs through life. Seemingly "free" it burdens the public purse with £100bn running cost – pure redistribution of wealth, popular with those who expect to gain net – Labour voters, as usual.

    The NHS is a third world service, nowadays increasingly staffed by third world staff. Elderly white ladies called Lily or Ivy complain they cannot understand a word their "doctors and nurses" say – and care in reality is largely provided by health care assistants – the equivalent of a PCSO to a real Policeman.

    You will get the best health care in the world in America – unless you prefer to get your information that worthless lying tub of lard Michael Moore. Yet if you said this in earshot of a Beeboid they will howl you down – its not in the script. 'Merica's bad, man.

    France has excellent care too – but a blend of personal, state and mutual society funding. No-one copies the NHS, except maybe North Korea. Pyongyang General for the Beeb staff.


  14. Philip says:

    Excellent post Andrew and spot-on analysis – although I'd argue that you'll probably get the best healthcare in the world in Israel, not the US 😉


  15. Roland Deschain says:

    Surely the best healthcare in the world is to be found in Cuba.


  16. Grant says:

    Andrew 7:43
    I bet the BBC people in the US get the best health care.
    When the BBC publish their remuneration and expenses, it will be interesting to see how many have private health insurance paid for by us !


  17. Grant says:

    The word verification for my last post was "skivese".
    Sums up the BBC perfectly !


  18. Martin says:

    The laugh I have is with the idiots (sorry but most of them are northerners or jocks) who have been ringing up the BBC all day and talking about the NHS being 'free'. The NHS is no more 'free' than the BBC is.

    The Tories poured billions into the NHS in the 80's and 90's and also failed to reform it.

    We pay for the NHS in taxes, huge amounts of taxes. But although we pay those taxes we don't get any say in the services we want from the NHS.

    No matter how much money you throw at the NHS they will still find ways to waste most of it.

    How anyone thinks the Government can run an organisation that employs 1.2 million people efficiently is beyond me. Gordon Brown can't even run his cabinet and there is only about 40 people in that.


  19. Ady says:

    American healthcare is a bad joke.
    15% of GDP !!!!
    …and 40+ million yanks don't even HAVE healthcare.

    The NHS costs us 8% of GDP.

    Private healthcare sucks bigtime. America proves that.

    The NHS also includes your teeth.
    My last dentist visit cost $15.

    Anyone from America care to tell us how much they got raped for at their last dentist visit?


  20. Ady says:

    The time before this visit I had a loose crown refitted.


    No wonder the profiteering tories hate the NHS


    Private healthcare can kiss ma bum.


  21. David Preiser (USA) says:

    ady @ 1:11 AM

    Anyone from America care to tell us how much they got raped for at their last dentist visit?

    I can give you two perspectives from personal experience: private and free public dentistry. I just deleted a laundry list of treatment and costs on both sides, and a slightly sarcastic bit about taxes, because it bored even me. But mostly because the last paragraph is more important than any of it, so I'm leaving it at this:

    We could argue endlessly about numbers, and small details of treatment, but there's an additional factor that, I think, means a little more in the US, if only for purely superficial cultural identity reasons: choice. I have a huge choice of providers, treatments, and costs. If I'm in the UK, at the very least I don't have a choice of how much tax I pay (unless I'm an MP, especially the Chancellor). More here than on your side of the pond, and it's a bigger part of the emotional equation over here.


  22. Ady says:

    Thats the only reply you guys can ever give.
    Obfuscate and smokescreen, that's all you ever damn well do.

    $15 dollars buddy. $15 !!!

    …sorry…I missed how much you said your last couple of dentist visits cost…

    Don't even go there monsieur American.
    As a UK person on the NHS I will beat you into a sloppy pile of mince every time you go near this subject.


  23. Ady says:

    America is the richest country in human history and you guys are paying 15% of GDP for healthcare.


    Obfuscate it as much as you like, there's only one conclusion:

    Yer a bunch of suckers.


  24. pete says:

    The only part of the NHS I ever used, dentistry, has completely disappeared from my area since about 2004. I don't remember New Labour promising that in 1997.

    I've gone private.


  25. Grant says:


    I think you will find it quite difficult to get dental treatment on the NHS in the UK. This lousy government have effectively privatised it.
    If you want dental insurance here, it will cost you at least £20-25 per month.


  26. MarkE says:


    I have worked in many multi national companies, both in the UK and overseas and with colleagues from all over the world. Comparing experiences with a colleague in Boston MA who had needed treatment under Medicaid following an accident (like many US citizens she had started at the bottom (hence the need for Medicaid) and climbed through self education and self improvement to a senior position, but that is for another thread, if not another forum) I found her experience very similar to mine with the NHS following a similar accident and injury. On another occasion a doctor I met socially who had worked in both the US and UK told me that, if he didn't have private health insurance, he would rather trust his family's heath to Medicqaid than to the NHS. Two examples is not a trend, but they do provide food for thought.


  27. Anonymous says:

    just to give one example of the lies peddled to us – lung cancer has an 8% survival rate ( after 5 years) in UK/Europe.

    50+% of all cancer cases are lung cancer.

    in the devloping world the figure is also 8%

    in america it is 14 %


  28. Roland Deschain says:

    Credit where it's due. John Humphrys gave Labour's Liam Byrne a very hard time compared to the Conservatives' Phil Hammond on Today this morning when discussing public spending cuts.

    I have to say I was very surprised. Labour's attack on this seems to have backfired.


  29. backwoodsman says:

    re Grant said :
    trippled expenditure…where has the money gone ?
    I understand large chunks of it have gone on administrators responsible for collating data . Data which only serves one purpose, to allow politicians to stand up in Parliament and spout statistics on blah blah blah.


  30. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Ady said…
    No Ady, you are so ill-informed I am suprised you would want to expose your ignorance so widely. Now run along and play with your Gameboy

    Point about Israeli medicine is well taken. These are the guys that invented a lot of todays hi-tech diagnostics. (Unlike their 350m muslim neighbours, who have invented err exactly nothing)

    Cuba is one of the most frequently-visited health systems by NHS "managers in training" – bit like Beeb need to send over 300 people to report on Glastonbury, because its a cool thing to have your employer fund.


  31. Anonymous says:

    Ady you muppet – you've been paying for that dental work every time your employer (supposing generously that you have one) takes your PAYE and stuffs it into Brown's coffers.

    Truth is, you don't even KNOW how much you've paid in your lifetime for healthcare, and yet you're dumb enough to come here and brag about this, Monsieur Fool.

    Ady, here's a challenge: tell me, as a proud "UK person" and tax payer: how much have you've paid so far in your lifetime for NHS healthcare, and how much has the treatment you've received actually cost the NHS.

    If you don't know those figures, your twee posturing and anti-American arrogance will start to look even more misplaced and foolish than it already does.


  32. Anonymous says:


    You must live on a different planet to us, dental treatment is not free at point of use, NHS dentists, if you can find one, charge for any work.

    As to the rest, why does the NHS spend a fortune on consultans, no, not he medical ones the beaurocatic ones.



  33. Millie Tant says:

    I saw an article recently about a woman called Tracey Andrews who is in prison for having murdered her boyfriend. Anyway, the story was that she had just had cosmetic surgery on the NHS to correct an over-prominent lower jaw to improve her appearance. A spokesperson was quoted as saying that prisoners are entitled to the same health services as anyone else.

    The thing is, I remember when she was all over the papers and the TV at the time of the murder and trial and neither I nor anyone else noticed or commented then about anything remarkable or out-of-place about her face or jaw. Clearly, it didn't stop her having a social life or a boyfriend etc, so why should the NHS fund such an operation at all? If it was strapped for cash, it wouldn't, obviously.

    Maybe it funds such things because, like the BBC, it has too much handy money. When an organisation has too much money given to it (rather than earned), a lot of it gets spent on the wrong things.

    Yet, at the same time, seriously ill people cannot get the best cancer drugs from the NHS, as it claims it cannot afford them.

    It is strange to me that Brown's blog is wittering on about personalised NHS service but not about the cancer drugs that people desperately need and are not getting or about the need for efficiency savings in the NHS.


  34. Anonymous says:

    France and Germany both use private hospitals but national health insurance.

    In France the patient is given a smart card which he takes to his doctor or hospital of choice. He then has to use the smart card before his appointment starts. The hospital or doctor then charges its services to the taxpayer.

    The advantage of the French system is that it is run for the benefit of the patient since the patient retains "buying power". The patient decides which doctor or hospital to use and therefore the patinet stops being a "problem that is best got out the way as quick as possible" and becomes "an opportunity to impress and make money".

    In Cuba there is actually very little healthcare as the country cannot afford expensive drugs. Cuba's health system actually relies on preventative treatments such as ensuring good diet and exercise. This works in an authoritarian country where people can effectively be forced to eat well and exercise. Not so easy in a country where the people expect a certain level of freedom to eat, drink, smoke and generally live as they like – not as the government likes.

    As I understand it the cost of operations in the US is about double the cost of the same operation in the UK. As far as I can tell this is because healthcare is private and insurance is private and the two act together and separately to push up the cost of operations so that insurance premiums rise. This marriage made in hell between healthcare providers and insurance companies is an effective cartel that operates at the expense of the consumer and prevents competition.

    Life expectancy in the UK is 78.7 years. In the US it is 78.06 years. In Germany it is 78.95 years, in France it is 80.87 years. (Source: CIA World FactBook)


  35. Anonymous says:

    £5500 per year per family for NHS care. £76,000 of costs per employee. Makes the NHS looks pretty expensive especially considering the MASH style treatment on offer.


  36. Anonymous says:

    Cost of hip replacement surgery in the US is £16,000. Cost of hip replacement surgery at a PRIVATE hospital in the UK: £8000.

    That's why US healthcare sucks. You Americans are getting merrily ripped off and its time you kicked up a stink about it.


  37. Anonymous says:

    "lung cancer has an 8% survival rate ( after 5 years) in UK/Europe.

    in america it is 14 %"

    Sounds good doesn't it? Thing is cancer care is big business in the US so there's a lot of focus on it and a lot of money to be made. Everyone fears the big "C", so everyone can have money extorted from them to escape it. Cheaper to give up smoking really. Fact is that people don't live as long in the US as they do in Europe, despite spending twice as much on healthcare. Must be something else that kills them….


  38. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Aside from chest-thumping about crappy but inexpensive healthcare on the NHS, is the BBC supposed to advocate for government policy?


  39. the NHS is good but pointlessly expensive says:

    Does anyone know what any of the hundreds of "PCT's" do? They all have Chief executives, finance directors, boards commissioners and perhaps tens of thousands of 'employees' (they generate tractor stats such as "100% of patients who booked an appointment with their GP, booked an appointment with their GP".)

    Funnily enough they have no products whatsoever, now that they are floating off their provider services. There's your 10% saving on NHS costs instantly. A PCT could be replaced with a co-ordinating committee at the district general hospital that met for an afternoon, once a month chaired by an elected representative, and included the Local practice GPs. I would even buy them sandwiches and fizzy water


  40. Anonymous says:


    Entirely cosmetic procedures are explicitly excluded in NHS priority policies. There should be no way that a cosmetic procedure (such as removal of tattoos, boob jobs, cosmetic orthodontics etc)should be authorised. Except they are of course, if you meet the right criteria. Strangely enough the NHS should not treat foreign nationals who happen to have washed up with the last tide


  41. Craig says:

    A comparison of John Humphrys's double-interview with Liam Byrne (Labour) and Phillip Hammond (Conservative) on this morning's 'Today' with Gavin Esler's double-interview of John Denham (Labour) and Phillip Hammond (Conservative) on last night's 'Newsnight' is revealing.

    Humphrys, smelling spending cuts (to which he is strongly opposed) gave Byrne a real grilling (as both main parties will have to cut public spending). (This gave a high Bias Coefficient of 3.8 compared to 2.2 for Hammond). The interview showed Humphrys at his very best, though it should be noted that the moral outrage he displayed is deeply left-wing in nature (sorry Atlas).

    Esler was more typically biased, being noticably tougher on the Tory than on the Labourite.

    He asked Hammond more questions (5, compared to Denham's 4) and interrupted Hammond 7 times, as opposed to 5 interruptions for Denham (Biased Coefficients of 3 for Hammond and 2.5 for Denham).

    Esler asked if Andrew Lansley made "a gaffe", twice mentioned the "10% cuts", saying they were "even more severe" cuts than Labour's, and went on to mention "inheritance tax cuts", asking if they were "as important as the NHS" and, asking if the Tories would "have to cut back on the army in Afghanistan" and whether that was "better" than "not giving tax benefits to some of the richest people in the country".

    In fairness Esler told Denham that "Nobody believes the Prime Minister..about cuts (or Alistair Darling)", adding "You would cut too, after 2011", and asked twice about the "7% cuts", as well as saying that Labour's plans were "not clear".

    Esler's bias wasn't overwhelming last night, but it was still in evidence.


  42. Grant says:

    Craig 9:06
    Keep up the good work !
    It never ceases to amaze me that journalists and politicians who know nothing about economics, forecasting , tax or finance ( other than their own ) pontificate on these matters.