[Image: PA].

Cynics are deploying the NHS’s current woes to argue the cherished principle at its heart – free care at the point of delivery based not on ability to pay, but on clinical need – makes for inefficient and unsustainable healthcare.

Nothing could be further from the truth: one study rated it the top-performing healthcare system out of a group of countries that included Germany, France and Canada, despite costing less per head than all but one in that group.

What we are seeing is the direct result of our health service being starved of the financial resources it needs to maintain existing levels of care to an ageing population. The government has imposed the tightest funding squeeze the NHS has faced in its 70-year history.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt continues to insist the English NHS has been given the resources it asked for, despite the health select committee pointing out the dodgy financial engineering involved in this claim.

Even worse, he has sought to deflect from the funding crisis by launching an offensive against overseas patients, despite the fact that pre-charging them for elective care would raise only a tiny sliver of the NHS’s annual budget.

This dog-whistle politics is all the more revolting given the NHS’s reliance on its migrant workforce.

Source: The Guardian view on the NHS: more cash, less dog-whistling needed | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

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