Who was on Duty? Who is responsible for the state of the NHS?

The state of the NHS in November and December 2019 is utterly unacceptable. Responsibility for this state of affairs rests entirely on the shoulders of the governments who have been in charge since 2010. People should hold them to account.

its their NHS we fight for

The BMA said “Under this government’s watch, patients and staff working in the NHS have endured winter after winter of overcrowded emergency departments, long delays, and pitifully low staffing levels. It should not take an election to take stock of just how bad the situation has become”.

The Governments introduced the policies. They held the purse strings, they oversaw appalling practice and plans. They had the motives. Please hold them to account. Don’t let them wriggle out of responsibilities. It’s not all politicians, or “the cuts”, or “the economy”.

NHS staff are providing good services by their own efforts, at a real cost to their own wellbeing. Despite their working conditions, they still take responsibility for their own actions and for any mistakes. Indeed there are rigorous processes to hold staff to account. If they make mistakes or are negligent, they are called to account. So must the government be called to account.

From 2010 it was a Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition, from 2015 it was a Conservative Government and from 2017 to the present, it was Conservatives, supported by the Northern Ireland DUP. The dreadful state of the national NHS is the responsibility of the Conservative Party and from 2010 to 2015, the Lib-Dems too.

The responsibility for the state of public health and wellbeing rests on the shoulders of the government of the day. The poor have been hardest hit by public health spending cuts. The poor get ill more often and die earlier. The state of the Hospitals, GP services, the ambulance service and more, is the fault of the government.

The voters have to call this Government and its party to account in this general election.

Hospitals in England are struggling to cope safely with high but quite predictable numbers of patients, and with predictable levels of illness. There is no element of surprise about the number of older people in the country. These people were born some time ago.

Staff shortages were also predictable. The number of staff in training has been known to be inadequate for some time. The Hostile environment for migrants makes the NHS less attractive to migrant doctors. Cutting training bursaries for nurses and midwives was bound to cause problems

The Royal College of Nurses claims that the shortage of nurses is the greatest threat facing the NHS

Racism in the population is a problem, and this has been fuelled by the toxic debate around Brexit and the Governments hostile environment. Smaller numbers of staff from the EU have been joining the NHS since the EU referendum (and make up a smaller percentage of joiners) The toxicity of the Brexit debate lies squarely on the shoulders of the government.

There is a serious shortage of beds in the NHS. “However, the UK currently has fewer acute beds relative to its population than almost any other comparable health system.” This reduction in the number of beds flows from decisions to reduce the number of beds, not from any accident or change in population. The shortage of beds results from appalling decisions.

Additional calls on the NHS because of poverty are also well known and are sadly predictable. Cuts in benefits for housing has seen more people forced to sleep rough on the streets. The life expectancy of the street sleeper is 47 years old.

Seriously ill people can be discharged from hospital with nowhere to go once their treatment ends. NHS data confirms that some homeless people are discharged to the streets

Hospitals are critically short of funds, equipment and staff. Public money has been given to for profit-making companies providing services for the NHS and advising the NHS on how to spend its money. Privatisation is rife.


Care is being rationed. We look at just one of these rationed treatments in an earlier blog post. Charging has been introduced for some patients, and for some treatments. The Warrington My Choice experiment was “paused” after a public outcry but we know similar situations are happening elsewhere. The charging issues for migrants are well explained here
The responsibility for all this all rests squarely on the heads of Government and their ‘ninja privatisers’.

“£20 Billion per YEAR to be made out of Outsourced contracts in NHS”

Votes can change things. In the United Kingdom, the people making the laws and the major decisions are the government. The party with the largest number of seats in Parliament chooses the Government.

There must be no attempt to blame the NHS workforce. Jeremy Hunt tried to blame doctors for waiting lists. Do you remember his 7 days a week NHS and his fight with the Junior doctors? Even now Government tax issues which could easily be solved, are directly damaging the NHS. Doctors should pay tax like anyone else but this case is solvable by negotiation. The Government negotiates quickly with big business. This pension issues too should be solved. The NHS needs many more doctors and doctors should not be expected to keep the system running by working over long hours.

“It (the election) comes as staff vacancies continue to put the health service under strain, with the NHS reporting last year it was short of 100,000 staff, including, 10,000 doctors and 35,000 nurses.” (BMA).

There is a lot of money spent on the NHS, but not enough of that money goes on beds, staff and frontline services.

Financial consultants have done well, out of the NHS.

midwives cleaners etc

Big corporations have made money from paying poor wages to provide cost-cutting services that have led to their own crisis. Money has been squandered on privatisation, the internal market, additional administrators, and fatally incompetent decisions about cleaning.

Audits of wards hit by a major outbreak found mattresses contaminated with bodily fluids as well as poor cleaning practises” (Liverpool Echo about Arrowe Park’s infection crisis).


Workers, including those at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, are fighting back against poverty wages in outsourced companies. In London, another set of workers are fighting back.

The Health Service Journal claims that repairing the new build The Liverpool Royal Carillion will cost £300million.

This is yet another example of money-making being allowed to run riot in the NHS

The responsibility for the state of the NHS rests squarely on the shoulders of the Government. We are not uncritical of Labour’s record on some aspects of the NHS. Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign and other NHS campaign groups have been highly critical of local Labour decisions to use PFI to build the new Royal, the failure to adequately supervise the build, of local decisions to cut the numbers of beds and to implement uncritically Government policies on the NHS. But the government made the decisions and had motives for their actions


Governments since 2010 have failed the NHS, have allowed its exploitation for-profit and placed staff and above all patient safety at risk, whilst employing silver-tongued PR exercises to cover up the problems.

An election gives a welcome opportunity to hold the government to account.


its their NHS we fight for

Voting works. The old folks who are now accused of “Bed Blocking” voted in 1945 to start the NHS. Our whole NHS grew from their votes. Votes can change the situation

Don’t just vote, we need still more campaigners to join us.

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