Atlantis Medical News

Cowper's Cut: The perlexity in digits


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UPDATED

08 NOV 2018


It seems like the Treasury is not taking the entire NHS funding seriously! The chancellor, Phillip Hammond’s recent speech on NHS funding, has got an amazing reference to this context. In accordance to his last week’s speech at the Conservative Party‘s conference, it appears that ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ may soon need a new nickname. The speech features an error, which is actually about the incorrect announcement of a very big number! Hammond said, “We’ve announced an unprecedented £84bn real terms funding boost for the NHS”.

Whereas the prime minister announced a £20.5bn increase by 2023 back in June and a £84bn real terms funding boost would represent an increase in the NHS budget, which is at present about £114bn, by just less than 75%. In simple words, this is not what is going to happen and of course, this really matters. Especially as at this time trust in politics is quite low, using inaccurate numbers disfigures the public perception.

According to professor of politics Philip Cowley, the former US president Lyndon Baines said, “The first rule of politics is to be able to count”. Now the major question which arises is - Why did “Spreadsheet Phil” of the Conservative Party read out this evidently and massive incorrect figure? Unfortunately, this answer seems nowhere to be found. Of course, misleading announcements are not a new thing from the Treasury. Gordon Brown was more than once guilty of multiplying funding boost announcements during his chancellorship.

Getting the digits right in his speech, the new health secretary and technology enthusiast Matt Hancock, apprised, “The prime minister has committed an extra £20bn over the next five years”. Mrs May, the prime minister committed an act of news, by unveiling to the conference that the fuel duty escalator was going to remain frozen (perhaps this can be seen as an early tribute to the certainty of tough NHS winters!). It matters since the observer of the treasury Munchkin community theorizes this way to be the worst way to represent the Conservative tax rise. This clearly indicates that if ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ retrieves his ability to count correctly, then the income tax is almost certain to rise.

A question given to the government and Conservative Party’s internal schisms over Brexit and DUP majority regarding this matter was, whether they could get a tax rise through the general public.

Winters also do matter since it is the optimum period of flu and the demands for emergency and urgent care will be increasing. Several reports of inconsistent supply of flu vaccine have been heard from several GPs.

It would be fascinating to get reader’s aspect on these anecdotal reports and if the cause of shortage can be known. The social care and health system can certainly do well without the strain of the problems related to flu vaccines.

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