It’s been a while since I last posted anything on my blog, largely due to a long-standing health issue that has meant five operations in three years, with two behind me already this year. So I have seen at first hand the finer workings of our National Health Service; and I believe very strongly that it is something worth fighting for. But that is an issue for another blog post…
However, our NHS has been the subject of a somewhat wild claim in the ongoing referendum campaign. Of course seeing the two sides of the Tory party beating the crap out of each other is an interesting side story; and I wonder how they hope to build bridges afterwards. But to get their voices heard the main protagonists seem to prefer the headline catching sound bite over reasoned argument.
So it was the other day when Gove suggested that the NHS would be a £100 million a week better off if we left the European Union. If Gove was a socialist I might be more inclined to believe him. But really? The cost of EU membership is less than 1% of total UK government spending. So the money saved from Brexit would not go far when divided up between the many calls on the public purse.
But more significantly, Gove comes from a party of government that has been quietly privatising the health service. What’s more, he and his fellow conservatives have been responsible for some serious cuts in public expenditure, inflicting upon the more vulnerable in our society a deliberate policy of austerity. So if a post Brexit government, presumably led by Boris Johnson, had money to spare, do we honestly believe they would spend it on public services?
Of course not. If anything a more likely beneficiary would be the rich elite in the form of tax cuts, presumably so that the wealth trickles down to the rest of us. Seriously though, Gove’s ‘leave’ group of very right-wing politicians, assuming they took control of the Conservative party, would – Brexit aside – make little difference to how the country was already being run.
So back to the NHS: When I woke up in recovery after my last operation, it was clear that the staff were stretched. In between the doses of Tramadol I did ask about this, and was told that they needed at least one extra person. This example may be just anecdotal, but I don’t believe Brexit would solve NHS funding problems. Indeed, after Brexit what would be the impact on staffing if EU nationals were no longer able to get jobs in the NHS? If Brexit was followed by a recession due to a falling pound and other economic problems, what would happen to the current funding of our health service? Gove and his mates don’t seem to have any answers; but them spending extra on the NHS just isn’t believable.