Health

The NHS comes under particular attack from the BNP, which blames its ‘failure’ on foreign health tourism and the importing of Third World medical staff. The BNP claims it would:

  • Replace 100,000 NHS bureaucrats with doctors, nurses and dentists;
  • Invest sufficient money in the NHS to provide a decent service to the British people;
  • Bring hospital cleaning back in-house and make high cleanliness a top priority;
  • End the scandal of foreign health tourism;
  • Train and pay to retain British doctors, nurses and dentists instead of looting the Third World of staff who are desperately needed in their home countries;
  • Revitalise the healthcare system by boosting staff and bed numbers, slashing unnecessary bureaucracy and by addressing the root cause of low recruitment and retention — low pay.
  • We will see to it that no money is given in foreign aid while our own hospitals are short of beds and the staff to run them.
  • Finally, more emphasis must be placed on healthy living with greater understanding of sickness prevention through physical exercise, a healthier environment and improved diets.

The NHS is a laughing stock. The NHS is critically ill. NHS Trusts are sacking staff, closing wards, cancelling operations and refusing patients vital life-saving drugs. Meanwhile, ‘health tourists’ are costing the NHS £2 billion a year, and diseases such as TB and AIDS are on the increase as a result of immigration.

British doctors and nurses are unable to find work in the NHS because we are importing medical staff (often with questionable qualifications) from the Third World where they are desperately needed.

Sixty percent of NHS staff are bureaucrats, and there are now more managers in the NHS than beds — with many earning more than £100,000 per year.

The contracting out of cleaning (often to contractors employing illegal immigrants) has resulted in collapsing standards of cleanliness, with around 20,000 patients a year dying of hospital-acquired infections.

Challenge Health

Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health, replies:

The BNP have got it spectacularly wrong again. The NHS is not a laughing stock or critically ill.

The spontaneous outburst in defence of the NHS during the controversy over the American healthcare plans in the summer, demonstrates the high esteem the NHS is held in across the UK. Recent large injections of funding and the efforts of hard-working health staff have ensured that waiting lists have plummeted and health outcomes have improved, particularly for heart disease, cancer and stroke patients.

The BNP are wrong again when they say that 60% of NHS staff are bureaucrats. The cost of administration in the NHS is estimated as only 12%, and only 3% of the NHS budget goes on management costs, which compares very favourably to most private sector organisations. So-called non-front line staff include workers such as cleaners and hospital porters who are an essential part of the healthcare team.

The BNP quote a fantasy figure of £2 billion for health tourism, with no evidence to back it up. Health tourism in the UK and across Europe accounts for a tiny percentage of treatment. EU figures estimate that cross-border healthcare accounts for only 1% of public expenditure on healthcare.

The NHS would collapse without the great work done for the service by migrant workers and this has been the case since the 1950s and 1960s.  The BNP are living in cloud cuckoo land if they think we can do without them.

For more information about the NHS, contact UNISON at unison.org.uk