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Health, housing and adult social services

Sahota’s numbers betray him

Local GP Onkar Sahota is playing his full part in Labour’s efforts to keep the NHS at the centre of its political campaigning in the run-up to the next general election. He “retweeted” this tonight – for non-tweeters that means he highlighted something he found of interest that he had found to his “followers” – his audience.

In retweeting this graphic from Labour Left he is in danger of undermining his own case quite badly. In spite of all Labour’s mendacious talks of Tory cuts the graphic confirms that under the Coalition government NHS spending has been protected in real terms. As much as Labour complains that the Tories do not prioritise the NHS the evidence is that they have. Labour made no such promise in the run up to the 2010 election. The Tories promised increased NHS spending and they have delivered. It is there in the right hand column of Sahota’s chart.

His chart say that NHS spending increased in real terms by 4% a year until 2011. I don’t doubt it. That means NHS spending increased by a factor of 12 in real terms between 1948 and 2011. In other words it has got 12 times bigger. The modern NHS is a very different one to that which was founded after the war. It now consumes 10% of GDP. NHS spending more than doubled under Labour in real terms in the 1997-2010 period.

For me the main take away from the graph is that when our economy is feeling its greatest stress in the post-war period asking a service that has enjoyed real terms growth of 6.5% per annum for 13 years to make do with slightly more isn’t the most unreasonable demand. This will involve some big changes but it is not unreasonable.

As a muli-millionaire GP maybe Sahota has some clues as to how the NHS can manage within its protected budget. If he has, he is not rushing to share. It still boggles my mind quite how venal Sahota is.