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Home News Paul T Horgan: Labour’s addiction to central planning has ruined the NHS

Paul T Horgan: Labour’s addiction to central planning has ruined the NHS

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It is impossible for the NHS to function properly due to Labour.

Twenty years ago, the toy industry had to make a decision over which film merchandise would be the the more popular gift that Christmas.  Would it be the plush version of Quasimodo from a hand-animated adaptation of the classic novel ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’?  Or would it be the plastic and electronic replica of Buzz Lightyear from the computer-animated ‘Toy Story’?

The experts came up with their considered view; most people would want the cuddly toy.  Production of the astronaut was scaled back.  The experts were wrong.  Buzz Lightyear became the must-have toy of the year.

Planners do seem to get it right more than they get it wrong. But sometimes they are spectacularly wrong.  Bracknell recently introduced new parking restrictions covering the residential roads beyond town centre to force visiting motorists to use the municipal car parks.  The streets in this postwar New Town are always clogged with parked cars in the evening.

The reason?  The planners in the 1950s, looking back at the economic state of the people most likely to occupy all the new housing, probably did not conceive that increasing affluence would result in every household having at least one car, these being at the time a luxury item reserved for the middle classes and above.  They most likely expected the occupants of the new dwellings to cycle to work or take the bus.  This may also explain why Bracknell misses out on a motorway exit unlike Slough, Maidenhead and Reading.  Even now planners in Bracknell, and no doubt elsewhere, only allow parking spaces for 1.4 cars per household for new housing. Presumably the .4 of a car is meant to be a motorcycle with a side-car.

If there is insufficient information available, it is not too surprising that planners will make mistakes in their decisions.  Disney backed the wrong toy simply because ‘Toy Story’ was the first ever feature-length computer-animated film they had made.  They had no relevant data.  The planners of Bracknell had data that included two world wars, slumps and a major depression.  They were not to know that the next major depression would not be until the early 21st Century and that the distribution of wealth under free-market capitalism in the meantime would make owning and running cars so affordable, especially after the post-war consensus was abandoned by Margaret Thatcher.

The NHS is run according to a central plan.  Given its socialist roots, this is not too surprising.  Recently it was announced that accident and emergency departments across the country had failed to achieve their targets for seeing patients.  Pressure on A&E has generally increased due to a shortage of appointments at

GPs’ surgeries.  The Daily Mirror, a newspaper not widely known for its right-wing leanings, happily put the blame squarely on the Tories.  The failures of the NHS are, in fact, directly the fault of Labour’s desire to win elections regardless of the long-term consequences.
The principle of the NHS is that it provides a universal health-care service that is free at the point of need.  Think about that for a moment.  Everyone in the United Kingdom has an entitlement to  health care at zero cost.  And all they have to do is to go to the hospital or to the GP.  How does a state planner make sure the services they need are available?  Well, they are able to use population statistics and can calculate demand based on how they divide up the people.  For example, they should be able to work out the demand for maternity care by using past information and extrapolate that based on how many women there are in the country who are of child-bearing age.

For every condition, they should be able to work out how much demand there will be and allocate resources accordingly.  The number of specialists and care staff that will be needed can also be calculated and thus be recruited in time.  It seems simple enough.

Of course, it is not actually that simple or the centrally-planned economies of Eastern Europe would overtaken the capitalist economies of the West and not instead collapsed in the 1980s.  Socialism in the East resulted in shortage economies as the absence of competition and the information provided by true prices meant that demand could not be determined. The absence of the profit incentive meant that resources could not be allocated efficiently and there was no direct reward for enterprise success, destroying any incentive to innovate.

The NHS, being a socialistic service, suffers from this like the communist states did.  The real cost of health care is effectively concealed from its recipient so it is impossible to place a value on preventative activity by patients or professionals.  So people will approach the NHS for help when their conditions are advanced and requiring the most expensive treatment.  But this is not the NHS’s biggest problem.

It is perpetually unaware of how many patients it will have to treat.  Because of this, it is unable efficiently to allocate resources and has to guess where money should be spent.  Sometimes the estimates are badly wrong.  People die as a result when care is unavailable due to shortages caused by central planning failures.  How has this come about?

The reason is simple.  Given that the State is providing a universal service free of charge, it should restrict this service only to people who are entitled to use it and know who these people are.  It doesn’t.  The State should control its borders and ensure that it is able to manage population growth.  This is currently not the case, nor has it been for years as a result of deliberate Labour policy.

It has been discovered that Labour relaxed immigration controls when in power to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity” and get votes.  The effect has been that if the NHS was planning services for what they thought was 100 per cent of the UK population, they were obliged to deliver this level of service to up to, say, 110 per cent or more of the planned figure, due to Labour’s immigration policy.  Dividing one by the other means that the NHS simply cannot provide all its services as it is permanently stretched too thinly and can only deliver a large fraction of the planned service to a total population whose size it never predicted would be so large.

Immigration also means that people come here after receiving genuine Third-World medical treatment, which makes their conditions more acute and requiring more expensive care.  According to a recent article by Max Pemberton in the Spectator, HIV, if caught early enough, is entirely treatable thanks to drugs developed by pharmaceutical corporations under free-market capitalism.  He states that HIV outcomes are now better than diabetes.  People with the virus are able to lead high-functioning lives.  Chris Smith, Britain’s first openly gay MP, is HIV-positive and was diagnosed in 1987.  He was still healthy enough to enjoy a front-bench political career, be elevated to the House of Lords and work in many leading state-sector organisations, like the Environment Agency.  According to Pemberton, “One study suggested that around 75 per cent of HIV-related inpatient admissions are immigrants, with about 60 per cent from Africa. For the vast majority of people with HIV in this country, though, the disease is managed entirely in outpatient clinics. HIV/Aids wards and specialist units have closed simply because there is no longer the volume of patients to fill them.”
The NHS’s predicament can only get worse, especially if the rise in tax revenues does not match population growth.  More people than expected are using A&E, resulting in the longer waiting times applauded by The Mirror as a way to bash the Tories, because there are more people than expected now living in the UK.  This is directly the fault of a Labour immigration policy designed to gerrymander on a colossal scale.

The 2011 census is apparently going to be the last one performed in the UK.  The Civil Service has already admitted that they do not know how many illegal immigrants there are in the country.  But people need to eat and receive health care as well as perform certain bodily functions.  On the basis of food purchases, some supermarkets suggest that the population of the UK is closer to 80 million.  The water companies should also be aware of the increase in the amount of human sewage they have to treat.  No-one in authority has dared ask, or if they have, they are not telling us, the people that pay them to do their jobs properly.

The NHS cannot function properly as a universal service unless it has accurate population figures.  The true population figure is widely accepted to be larger than the official one.  It is obviously politically sensitive or it would not be subject to such uncertainty.  The  irony is that the ‘party of the NHS’ is directly responsible for its postwar creation being in this stretched condition, due to another more recent creation designed to recruit Labour voters from overseas.  Blaming the Tories over the NHS is a cheap shot that plays with unthinking Labour supporters.  Privatisations may be inevitable if the cost of providing health care to Labour’s population imports becomes too expensive for private-sector taxpayers to bear on their  own.  Labour may be able to bring in voters from around the world to combat its unpopularity, but it cannot defy mathematics forever.

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Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan works in the IT Sector. He lives in Berkshire.

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