As the NHS turns 70, hospital staff are holding a cake sale to buy drip stands

Cupcakes and NHS logo
Support us and go ad-free

As the NHS turns 70 years old, hospital staff in Derby are holding a cake sale and “24 hour swingballathon” – so that every patient on their ward can have their own drip stand.

On 11 June, Derby Hospitals NHS tweeted:

Their tweet sparked quite a response:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Funding increase “far below long-term average”

It’s no wonder that hospitals are having to fundraise for basic equipment. The Kings Fund says:

The Department of Health budget will grow by 1.2 per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2020/21. This is far below the long-term average increases in health spending of approximately 4 per cent a year (above inflation) since the NHS was established.

It goes on to note that the funding increase is also far below “the rate of increase needed based on projections by the Office of Budget Responsibility (4.3 per cent a year)”.

And you shouldn’t just take their word for it. Even Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg admits that funding is at a historic low:

Extra money may lead to cuts in spending per patient

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in November 2017 that the NHS would get a £1.6bn funding boost in 2018/19. However, independent health thinktank the Nuffield Trust says of this ‘extra’ money:

What then of the Chancellor’s extra £1.6 billion? How much of that will translate into additional spending? The answer is that much of it will not. At least not in the sense that most people understand extra spending, which (reasonably enough) is as buying extra stuff: extra patient care, extra quality, extra doctors and nurses, extra drugs. In fact, in many cases it will be used to effectively cut, rather than increase, NHS spending in real terms per patient.

That’s because £1bn of the ‘extra’ money will go into funds which NHS providers can only access if they meet a Treasury-agreed financial “control total”. To do that, they have to either reduce their deficit, or increase their surplus – in other words, spend less. As the Nuffield Trust says:

There is ultimately only one way a provider can consistently do that, and that is by reducing the average costs of caring for each patient it treats down towards the level funded in the tariff (or below it, in the case of providers who are set a target to report an underlying surplus).

For trusts this year, that will mean real-term cuts to their spending per patient of 4.2%.

Extra money trusts can’t spend

But in an Alice in Wonderland twist, even if providers reduce their spending, and receive some of the money, they can’t spend it – because to do so would mean they would breach their “control total”.

When then-health secretary Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan launched the NHS on 5 July 1948, he probably didn’t think that hospital staff would have to fundraise to pay for basic equipment 70 years later. But with 83% of acute hospital trusts now in deficit, hospital staff may be baking a lot more cakes and playing a lot more swingball in the future.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

– Read and support other independent media outlets:

Media DiversifiedNovara MediaCorporate WatchRed PepperNew InternationalistCommon SpaceMedia LensBella CaledoniaVox PoliticalEvolve PoliticsReal MediaReel NewsSTRIKE! magazineThe Bristol CableThe Meteor, The SkwawkboxSalford StarThe Ferret.

Featured image via pixabay/wikimedia commons

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us

Comments are closed