Johnson’s falsehood about nurse numbers: it’s not good to launch a manifesto with a lie

Nurses: Boris Johnson has promised more, but he has not been straight about the numbers to be recruited or the cost of recruiting them.

Boris Johnson has finally launched the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the 2019 general election – with a huge, and all-too-obvious, lie.

He promised 50,000 more nurses and the creation of 50 million more GP appointments.

The Tories’ spending document says the additional nurses will cost £879 million.

But fact checking organisation Full Fact says this is not true:

“According to reports since the manifesto launch, the 50,000 figure includes 18,500 existing nurses who will be encouraged to remain, or attracted to rejoin after leaving.”

So the Conservatives are really offering to recruit only 31,500 nurses.

What about the cost?

“The party claims in their spending document the policy to retain, recruit and train nurses for the NHS in England will cost £879 million in 2023/24. (Health is a devolved area, so the UK government is only directly responsible for it in England.)

“While it’s not clear how this has been calculated, that clearly isn’t the total cost of eventually having 50,000 more nurses on the NHS.

“A newly-qualified nurse on pay band 5 can expect a salary of about £24,000 a year. But this isn’t what it costs to employ that nurse. There’s a lot more to the cost of employing someone than just their salary—you also need to consider things like national insurance and pensions, as well as the costs of giving them places to work and training them on the job.

“Independent analysts estimate that once you add up the extra costs (excluding capital overheads), a band 5 nurse may cost around £53,000 a year.

“That doesn’t include the cost of recruiting or training those nurses, which is a significant factor in how much such a policy would eventually cost. Estimates suggest over the expected lifetime service of a nurse, that could amount to around £8,700 a year.

“Even without adding training costs, as a very rough indication, 50,000 nurses at pay band 5 cost the NHS in the region of £2.8 billion a year based on this estimate (or £2.6 billion excluding capital overheads). The actual cost will be higher as some move up the pay scale, and considering ongoing training costs as well.

So the cost is only around £1.9 billion out!

The 50 million GP appointments is derived from employing 6,000 more doctors.

The trouble is, the Conservatives promised 5,000 more GPs back in 2015, and more than 500 have left since then.

So there’s no reason to believe they’ll recruit anybody; they’re far more likely to push even more away.

Source: General election 2019: Boris Johnson vows to ‘forge a new Britain’ – BBC News

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