KONP PRESS RELEASE: Reaction to Ed Balls speech on NHS spending pledge

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Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) calls on Labour to restore health spending levels to 11% of GDP saying Ed Ball’s commitment to further funding does not go far enough.

The Shadow Chancellor was speaking at the Labour Party conference in Manchester today, where he said Labour would use a 50p tax rate for top earners, to raise extra funds for the NHS and would repeal the 2012 Health and Social Care Act to stop the “creeping privatisation” of the health service.

He acknowledged there was a crisis in Accident and Emergencies, fewer nurses and said: “I love the NHS and I will do whatever I have to, to save it.”

Reacting to Mr Balls’s speech, KONP Co-Chair Professor Sue Richards said: “Ed Balls says he loves the NHS. Yet his pledge for further NHS funding falls well short of what is required to save it.

“The Conservatives have massively cut funding to the NHS, syphoning off money to spend it on their privatisation ideology and the bureaucracy needed to make it happen. They hire private companies, which are slick at putting in bids for contracts, and even better at cutting corners when it comes to patient care. 

 “The National Audit Office slammed Serco for having, ‘insufficient staff to fill all clinical shifts,’ during 2012, when it provided out of hours care in Cornwall.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Government spending on the NHS is continuing to fall as a percentage of GDP.

In 2010, healthcare expenditure accounted for 9.7 per cent of GDP, falling from 9.8 per cent in 2009.

Professor Richards added: “The Conservatives are squeezing down expenditure on health in the expectation that more of us will pay for private treatment in order to avoid long waiting lists.  If Labour wants to save our health service from the mess left by the Tories, they need to commit to bringing health expenditure back up to the European average and a level they raised it to during their last time in office. This is a key way to show Labour loves our NHS.”


For further comment, contact Professor Sue Richards on: 07407 379194

Notes to editors

  • “KONP campaigns against the privatisation of the NHS in
    the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and for a publicly owned, publicly
    accountable, publicly provided and comprehensive NHS .”
  • KONP is the longest running NHS campaign, founded in 2005http://www.keepournhspublic.com/

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