The Tory media are manipulating the narrative over NHS crisis — we must counter it

The Tory media are up to their usual tricks — trying to manipulate the narrative regarding the #NHScrisis in order to help the Government to get away with the cruel policies they have implemented.

The narrative they push is one in which the crisis is caused by the NHS having too many patients.

The Daily Express claim that there are too many immigrants who have taken all the hospital places (Tuesday’s headline read: “Foreign mums in £16m NHS rip-off”).

The Telegraph claim that there are too many old people now needing more care and so, the NHS simply does not have the staff to cope. However, like much we see from the Tory media, a little research shows this to be untrue.

It is not a case of staff being stretched due to too many patients, rather, staff shortages are the result of nurses and doctors leaving the profession and potential recruits choosing not to join the profession.

Daily Express blame 'foreign mums'.
Daily Express blame ‘foreign mums’.

The Telegraph claim that there are too many old people now needing more care and so, the NHS simply does not have the staff to cope. However, like much we see from the Tory media, a little research shows this to be untrue.

It is not a case of staff being stretched due to too many patients, rather, staff shortages are the result of nurses and doctors leaving the profession and potential recruits choosing not to join the profession.

The cuts to the nurses’ bursary has been a brutal policy and a serious factor in the staff shortage. Previously, when nurses were training they would receive money (a bursary) to pay for living costs, like food and rent. Due to these cuts, many now have to take out loans. This leads to them starting work already burdened with a huge amount of debt.

Many who wanted to become nurses have decided not to do so, due to this cut. Therefore, there are fewer nurses in our hospitals and clinics than there should be.

Another damaging policy has been the refusal of the Government to pay nurses a living wage. Nurses are incredibly dedicated, but many have been forced to leave the profession due to the poverty created by low pay.

For years, nurses organizations have warned that without a decent wage there will be a crisis in the NHS, with nurses leaving the profession. Of course, the likes of Jeremy Hunt have simply dismissed such concerns.

Nurse: 'Migrants make the NHS'.
Nurse: ‘Migrants make the NHS’.

Privatisation has also been a cause of staff shortages. Private healthcare companies prefer to hire cheaper, less qualified staff in the services they manage. These services don’t have the staff they require during periods of high demand and end up unable to cope.

There are a range of other policies I could mention, but the final thing to add is that the NHS cuts themselves cause the crisis to deepen, especially cuts to primary care. Due to these cuts, many find it hard to get adequate primary care, which means they end up getting sicker and this costs the NHS more in the long term.

For example, someone with a rash or an infection often only requires some basic primary care, like seeing a GP and getting anti-biotics. But cuts have meant that many do not have access to primary care, so that rash or infection often leads to a more serious illness. This can result in the patient needing an operation or other secondary care, costing the NHS considerably more.

Whilst the Tory media continue to manipulate the narrative, as with so much of what they say, a little research shows this to be nothing more than propaganda and a long way from reality.

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Shlomo Anker

Shlomo is regular contributor and co-founder at the Pileus. He was previously involved in the Labour-supporting media group, Jewish Voice, and in an ongoing project to revive the Yiddish language. He is a fan of Leyton Orient & Hapoel Tel Aviv and a keen cyclist. It is while cycling that he often does his thinking for what to write in his articles.