David Cameron’s first big speech as Westminster got back to business after the election included the now familiar mantra that the NHS ‘is safe in our hands’.
What poppycock. His figures simply do not add up.
The NHS is in crisis with hospital trusts unable to balance the books and a drastic shortage of doctors and nurses.
Nearly two-thirds of acute hospitals are now in deficit, with NHS providers likely to have overspent their budgets by at least £800m in 2014-15.
The PM has promised additional funding of £8bn a year by 2020-21. That is dependent on delivering efficiency savings of £22bn a year by 2020-21.
It will not pay for new initiatives or an increase in staff. And recruitment is lagging far behind demand.
The same is true of GPs – since 2008 the number of consultations a year has increased by 40 million to around 340 million, but the take-up of GP training places is the worst since 2007. Six out of ten say they plan to retire in the next five years.
Across the board, morale within the NHS has plummeted, but it still makes empty boasts. Do not be fooled.
On a local level, I would like to congratulate Clive Gray, chief executive Blyth Tall Ship, on the excellent work regarding the restoration of the 100-year-old tall ship. This is a great achievement for Blyth and we are all looking forward to seeing the renovated ship.