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Is the status quo good enough?

December 10, 2019 3:08 PM

sbThe film of our Prime Minister refusing to look at the picture of a four year child with suspected pneumonia laying on the floor waiting for a hospital bed has understandably got a lot of media coverage given what it says about his understanding of the experiences of public services for most of the British people

What it also highlights is the bigger picture that we are reaping the results of 9 years of Conservative Government with a promise of more of the same to come. There manifesto promises limited investment such that the Institute of Fiscal Studies says that outside health spending on public services will still be 14% (1/7th) lower in 2023/4 than in 2010/11 if the Conservatives stay in power.

Its not like the incident with the child in Leeds was exceptional. The independent carries a report today https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-crisis-mental-health-emergency-a-e-hospital-bed-shortage-a9239281.html which starts:

The depths of the NHS crisis have been laid bare by a series of cases of sick children forced to wait hours in A&E departments for hospital beds.

One 12-year-old with learning disabilities and mental health issues had to stay in an Essex hospital A&E for 57 hours for a specialist bed to become available, a leaked NHS email shows. She was one of four children left "in the middle of an emergency department" because of bed shortages.

A source at the Mid Essex trust told The Independent: "Whilst it's unacceptable that there are no beds available for this child, what's really awful is the lack of planning for this and the ongoing lack of engagement from NHS England and the mental health trust in finding a solution.

Another child, which was not a mental health case, had to wait 17 hours in A&E over the weekend at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Its not surprising when you recall the number of hospital beds has fallen considerably since the Conservatives came to power, as occupancy rates have risen. Experts such as Dr Susan Crossland, the president of the Society for Acute Medicine, have warned the loss of beds will make it harder for hospital staff to provide proper care.

Or take the economy where performance figures have just been announced. Phillip Inman summarised the current position as follows https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/dec/10/uk-economy-general-election-gdp-figures-october

Britain's economy stalled in the three months to October following steep falls in the manufacturing and construction industries, according to the last official economic data before voters head to the polls on Thursday.
The Office for National Statistics said its monthly assessment found that a broad swathe of the UK's industrial sectors struggled in the autumn months to leave GDP growth at zero.
Only the services sector showed signs of growth and the ONS emphasised that the areas where activity was still modestly higher were in estate agencies, the health sector and professional, scientific and technical activities.
Highlighting the weakness of the economy, year-on-year growth in GDP slowed to 0.7% in October, which was the lowest rate of growth since March 2012.

So we face a big choice on Thursday. Do we stick with Conservative policies which are clearly failing, take a leap in the dark with Labour who have promised so much that no-one believes they can fund their promises or go with the Liberal Democrats the only party with a fully funded programme (https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2019/1341386/neither-labour-nor-the-conservatives-is-being-honest-with-the-electorate-1 ) on investment in public services and environmental protections funded by the economic bonus we would get from Stopping Brexit