Save the NHS

The NHS is becoming a terrible political football already in this election campaign. We have already heard a lot of hooey about it from the old parties, and I fear there will be more to come. £1.5 billion here, £2 billion there.

What’s crucial is the fundamental principles which each party apply.

I am delighted that the Green Party believes that the NHS should remain a publicly funded service.

Where we are unique is that our policy is that the service should not only be publicly funded but also publicly provided forever.

As a country we spend very average amounts of money on our health service, compared to other similar economies. We are slightly different in that we spend almost all of it via state funding. But overall we do not spend vast amounts.

In our view, we need to increase this amount substantially and keep increasing it as demand continues to grow, as we know it will.

We believe that if necessary we should increase taxes to pay for this. To start we need to ensure that we collect all the tax we are due from business and from the super rich. The Green Party supports the imposition of the Robin Hood tax on share transactions, the mansion tax and the scrapping of Trident. We believe that the money is there to adequately fund the health service. What is missing is the political will.

If we are putting so much public money into such a service then there is no doubt that it should go to providing the services we need and not to fund profits for private companies. In particular we need to address the scandal of the vast debt the NHS has built up, mainly under Labour, under the ruinously expensive Pubic Finance Initiative.

In 1983 the NHS spent 5% of its budget on management. That figure now stands at 15%. Reduce that figure to 10% and many of the financial issues reduce or disappear. So much of these management costs are directly related to the management of the internal market and the privatisation of the service. Get rid of these aspects and the amount of money which could flow into the real health service would increase vastly.

The NHS is one of the great achievements of our country. It has been built up over generations by the hard work and taxes of all of us.   It has been sold off piece by piece by Labour and Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. This has profited nobody except the corporations who are buying up swathes of our service.

We believe that Green Party policies are what those who pay for, work for and use the service are demanding.

We believe that Green Party policies are what those who pay for, work for and use the service are demanding.

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