Lying and incompetent: The smirking Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt [Image: Phil Harris/Daily Mirror].

Tory cuts have meant the NHS in England has been forced to “raid” a budget earmarked for long-term investment, simply to fund day-to-day spending, a report to Parliament has claimed.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee report on the financial stability of the NHS said the service is facing “huge challenges”.

It said: “Reducing investment in the hospital estate and medical equipment risks making the NHS less sustainable in the longer-term and limits the funding for investing in new services in the community.”

The report attacked local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), saying they “are supposed to be a vehicle for creating a modern day NHS, but NHS England and NHS Improvement have much more to do before the public can feel confident that plans are achievable, especially when the Head of NHS Improvement acknowledges that the 4 per cent efficiency savings required are so challenging.”

And it said bosses did not understand what was achieveable: “We recognise the unprecedented challenge of achieving financial sustainability when patient demand is rising, budgets are tight and pressures in social care are impacting on the NHS. But the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking local bodies to solve multiple problems and deliver a range of priorities, without a proper understanding of what they can realistically achieve.”

Worse still was the fact that “key players running our NHS are bickering in public”.

The report warned that “the Department of Health, NHS England and No. 10 must work together in the best interests of patients”, and publicly-aired arguments do “little to inspire confidence that patients are at the heart of everyone’s priorities”.

This is the context in which we found that Jeremy Hunt had lost hundreds of thousands of patients’ files – a service that is under-funded to the point of collapse, whose leaders are fighting amongst themselves.

Mr Hunt has known about the cock-up since at least last July. Now, what was happening in July last year that might encourage him to hide evidence that his NHS was incompetent? A dispute over contracts with junior doctors, perhaps?

In the House of Commons yesterday (February 27), he lied to fellow members, saying nobody had been harmed by the misplacement of the files. In fact, 537 cases of possible patient harm are being investigated right now, including 173 in which harm seems certain.

It seems redundant to say this nightmare cannot be allowed to continue – we have a Conservative Government so it will. And it will get worse. We can call for Jeremy Hunt’s removal until we need medical help ourselves but it won’t do any good; even if he went, we’d only get another damned fool, injuring and harming patients who have paid into the NHS in good faith.

The answer is a change of government. Until we get that, the Conservative Party will make us all suffer.

If you did not believe it before, believe it now.

Source: House of Commons – Financial sustainability of the NHS – Committee of Public Accounts

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