Press release: NHS under-spend ‘miscalculation’ is no accident

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[Tuesday 19 July 2016]

The latest revelation on the true level of under-funding for the NHS, as revealed by the Commons Select Committee[1], simply shows another cynical step in this government’s NHS-destroying agenda.

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, a retired consultant paediatrician and Co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said:

“The NHS is close to being on life support and the Government is slowly and deliberately turning down the oxygen supply. So I welcome this challenge to Government spin on health spending from Dr Sarah Wollaston, and the Commons Health Select Committee.

“By 2020 the NHS will have suffered 10 straight years of austerity in health funding. Now in Year 6, the NHS is breaking under the strain: 4-hour waits in A&E are woeful and dangerous; cancer waits are failing patients; suicide rates are rising as mental health services fail to cope. Closer to a 4% per annum increase in funding is needed to meet the nation’s health service needs. That would be an extra £30 billion by 2020. So even the promised £8.4 billion is equivalent to a £22 billion (20%) cut.

“That even this figure is a deception – and in fact it should be £4.5 billion – is a national scandal.”

Dr John Lister, health campaigner and researcher and Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public:

“The Health Committee’s accusation of misleading government figures exaggerating the level of funding increases for the NHS is welcome, but belated and understated. The Tory-led Committee has wilfully looked the other way for years.

“Latest figures suggest underlying NHS trust deficits of £3.7 billion, while training budgets have been slashed. But each year billions of ‘unspent’ Department of Health funds have been returned to the Treasury: even last year the DH was in surplus while trusts wrestled with deficits.

“It’s outrageous that Dr Wollaston among others are cashing in on this synthetic crisis, and calling for debate on alternative ways of funding the NHS.

“KONP argues there is no need for any of this debate. The NHS should continue to be funded from general taxation, and delivered by publicly-owned services, free at point of use. Billions of savings should come from scrapping the complex and costly ‘market’ in healthcare set up by Andrew Lansley’s 2012 Act – which weighs down like a millstone around the necks of hard-working NHS staff.”


[1] []

Editors’ Notes

Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 38 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details:


KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

[email protected]

[email protected]


Facebook: Keep-Our-NHS-Public


[1] Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.

Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin

Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press

Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.

Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.


[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models

[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.

Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]

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