Friday, May 16, 2014

The Nicholson Challenge and West Cumbria's NHS

The largest financial driver in the NHS is the Nicholson Challenge. This is a policy put in place in 2009 whilst Andy Burnham was Secretary of State. Labour knew it had to control NHS spending after years of real growth so it adopted the Nicholson Challenge. This appears in the 2010 Labour manifesto on page 4:3.

The idea of Nicholson is to take out £20 billion of efficiency savings and put it back in in new services to meet rising demand.

The Coalition promised to protect NHS spending, which it has, but the Nicholson Challenge was already built into NHS spending plans in May 2010. Since May 2010 the Labour party at every level including here in West Cumbria has described the effects of the Nicholson Challenge policy which they themselves introduced as “Tory cuts”.

Of course, some of the problems we have had in West Cumbria, such as the crrent difficulties at Millom hospital, are nothing to do with any kind of cuts: the main problem at Millom is recruiting and retaining doctors (see next article.)

The same, or a less generous, financial settlement would have been given to the NHS if Labour had won in 2010 - Burnham suggested that the coalition was being "Irresponsible" in not making the NHS make a share of the overall cuts which eve Labour admitted were necessary and therefore making heavier cuts elsewhere.

So if a Labour spokeman starts talking to you about cuts in the NHS, ask if this means the Nicholson Challenge - and if he or she can't point to some other specific policy, point aout that this was introduced by Labour in 2009.


Post a Comment

<< Home