The new prime minister, Gordon Brown, has lied and mocked the English when he said he has placed the NHS as his “immediate
priority”, cut the capital budget of the English NHS for 2007-08 from
£6.2bn to £4.2bn as one of his last acts as Chancellor.
One of the primary reasons for doing this is that as the Smoking Ban cuts in, the revenue from Tobacco Tax will fall short of the amount required for continuation of the NHS budget plans.
However, Mr Brown avoided equivalent cuts to the Scottish and Welsh NHS
budgets even though the funding formula for the UK nations suggests
they should have shared the pain. That decision leaves him open to
criticism that he favoured patients in his home country.
Those familiar with the situation said the cut to NHS capital
spending implied a very tight settlement for the health department for
the next three years in October’s Comprehensive Spending Review and
indicated a slowdown in hospital building.
department’s surrender of £2bn in capital is all the more remarkable
because the NHS needs the money and it had not been given greater
day-to-day money to spend.
The private finance initiative
hospital programme has already been cut from a future programme of
£12bn to £8bn, with further reduction likely, amid worries the
inflexible payments PFI demands do not fit well with the new system of
money following the patients. Big hospital reconfigurations are due in
some parts of the country that will inevitably require capital.
Treasury Friday night confirmed the NHS capital budget had been
“adjusted”. But it indicated that, although it was not yet published,
it would allocate the missing £2bn to spend to English hospitals over
three years from 2008-09.
No published health spending plans
exist for these years yet, so hospitals will not be able to verify that
the money is additional. (source).
More government Smoke and Mirrors, with a smoking ban to be enforced at a further cost of millions, remember that it was cigarettes that paid the bulk of the NHS budget.
So when you next need treatment, when our hospitals are suffering under these cuts and become as poor as those in Iraq, with fewer buildings, PFI debts for the next 30 years, no new equipment and more NHS staff lay-off's, when the waiting lists start stretching out to years again, ask your doctor if the smoking ban was worth it.
NuLab – Destroying Britain from the inside out.