Alex Vincent-Machado’s assertion (Health budget explained, Your Say, August 21) the “efficiency savings” have been ploughed back into the NHS needs to be clarified for readers.
“Efficiency saving” is the gap between the funding allocated and the demand for services.
This gap is supposed to be met by lowering costs and improving productivity.
Hence, if this generates a surplus, there is a possibility of ploughing it back.
But all the evidence is that our hospitals and CCGs are struggling to meet the Nicholson target of £20bn over five years to 2015.
An increasingly large number of hospitals, including our own St Helier, are now in financial deficit.
This is due to the fact that there has been a year on year of reduction in tariffs (payment for
specific services) amounting to 7 per cent in real terms by 2014-15 (information from King’s Fund, which monitors NHS funding).
Facing this deficit, many hospitals have cut down staff and services.
Dr Kailash Chand from the BMA estimated that over two years across the country 35,000 staff have been axed, including 5,600 nurses, half of our 600 ambulance stations are earmarked for closure, one-third of NHS walk-in centres have been closed and 10 per cent of accident and emergency units have been shut.
Furthermore, it is unforgivable that the significant savings are delivered by pay restraint for our valued hospital staff whose morale is at their lowest because of the fall in living standards.
Given these financial pressures and the provisions health and social care bill of 2011, more than £10bn worth of the NHS has been put up for sale.
Hence we need to take David Murray’s arguments (Call to reverse privatising bill, August 7) seriously and have an informed debate about it.
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