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David Cameron pledges radical NHS cuts 'from day one'


A Conservative government would crack down on waste and excessive bureaucracy in public services from ‘day one’, David Cameron has said.

In a speech to the Welsh Conservative conference in Llandudno, the Tory leader attacked Labour’s “spendaholic culture” and repeatedly said he wanted to deliver “more for less”.

He said reducing demands on the state and reforming public services would have “a profound impact” on how much the government spent.

“But the truth is it may take years to feel many of the benefits - and we can’t afford to wait that long,” he said.

“We need to start getting more for less from day one.

“So there is a third component to our plans - cutting out waste.”

Mr Cameron argued for reigning in public spending, saying: “The greatest task of all for an incoming government will be getting to grips with the monster budget deficit that Labour have created.

“I think people know by now that the Conservatives are the ones with the grit and the guts to cut public spending, to cut the deficit, to get this problem sorted.”

He said the Tories had been “upfront” about the need for cuts, about where they would come from “and upfront that they will have to start straight away”.

The question of how to improve things without just spending money will “define British politics for years to come”, he said.

A Conservative government would drop costly “old-world bureaucratic methods” and publish every item of spending over £25,000, creating greater transparency that would unleash an “army of armchair auditors crawling all over the books, scrutinising them and acting as a straitjacket on wasteful spending”.

“I don’t think people quite get how radical we propose to be,” Mr Cameron said.


Readers' comments (10)

  • I wish I could get £10 for every time, between now and the Election, one of the party Leaders says he is going "cut waste"!

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  • Plenty of work for the auditors then. What was Dave saying about bureaucracy?

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  • Politicians use the NHS as a political pawn. Cuts are coming no doubt about that. Five more years of labour will transform the NHS into a fragmented mess.

    Unfortunately 5 years of conservatism will render it unfit for service.

    The voters in this country have no real alternative to these two parties and that is such a shame. Record low turn-outs should tell the politicians everything. . . .they don't listen.

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  • Is it time to say goodbye to the ideal of universal healthcare?

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  • I'm getting my qualification, doing my perceptiship and moving to Canada. Treated far better over there.

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  • And how much are these 'armchair auditors' going to cost?? I have a far better idea David, spend the money on increasing staffing ratios on wards and in community services. This is the only way to improving outcomes for patients. How about consulting with the nurses out here on the ground, we know exactly how to improve the NHS and it might actually win you some votes at the samw time!

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  • A Conservative government intoduced those costly "old world bureaurucratic methods" in the early 90s allowing non clinical senior managers in to the service. These managers then tripled the management structures beneath them allocating lease cars [BMWs and the like]. They did stupid things to save money like remove the out of hours service contract for the paging systems which meant that when the system failed out of hours a service engineer could not be called. As with all these ridiculous situations the people at the sharp end, Drs and Nurses, develop a system to get by with. With no cardiac arrest paging, Drs left phone messages with CCU and ITU saying where they would be. The rest of the wards had to contact CCU to locate a Dr even in an emergency. This happened to me on more than one occasion when I was site manager. When I contacted the CEO to inform him and ask for permission to call an engineer, I was spoken to like dirt and asked what other hospitals do in the same situation before he terminated the call abruptly. My A&E was expected to send a defibrilator twice a week to the Psychiatric hospital 4 miles away by taxi so that they could run their ECT clinic. Their machine had broken and our CEO decided this would be another opportunity to save money. Again, the people at the sharp end have to make it work, and they usually do and the CEO lives to see another day, or do they? More recently there has been some very disturbing accounts of poorly managed care. I think that the deterioration within the system has been going on for so long because of inappropriate management that it will be very hard to pick it ip and make it right again. Masses of money is being allocated but is being spent by non clinical managers.

    I need to end because I will get bogged down but before I do can I just give a for instance.
    When I was working in A&E in the late 80s we would sometimes get a call from one of the consultant surgeons to say that a local GP had contacted him about a patient with, say a breast lump. He had asked the GP to send her to A&E so that he could examine her. On her arrival we would page him and he would come and examine the lady. He would then arrange for her to be added to his NEXT theatre list for a biopsy which would be on a Tuesday of Friday. This meant a wait of $ days at the most. This system ended when managers tried to make the system more efficient. Theatres could not work after 5pm because of having to pay staff overtime. On the wards it became routine for a patient to be fasted, have a pre-med then have their op cancelled.
    These days, if a woman with a breast lump is seen within 6 weeks she's lucky and this has been reduced from 18 weeks.

    Mrs. Thatcher, [the de-regulator and the person who sold Westminister for a £1, AND brought about BSE], Ken Clarke and Brian Mulwhinney. Conservatives never change. They always meddle with public services then use BUPA themselves.

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  • There is no doubt about it. Govt ministers, civil servants and managers within the NHS have blood on their hands. Thier 'efficiency' drives have resulted in delays to treatment for many.

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  • Anonymous | 9-Mar-2010 8:54 am

    I know what you mean, I'm getting my preceptorship and getting out to Australia. After 3 years training (and a year taken out to work because I couldn't afford to live) I am sick and tired of being screwed over left right and centre in this country.

    We won't have an NHS in 10 years time, mark my words. Time to get out.

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  • I think the staff car park demonstrates nicely how many people are working on the front line and how many are monday to friday penpushers!

    In our huge car park at a large city hospital-

    Monday to Friday-barely a space available
    Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays and nights-barely a car to be seen!!!
    Yet the patients are still there being cared for-

    Seems there are more beaurocrats needed than nurses and doctors!!!

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