Latest column for NHS Resource Centre:
Improving efficiency is all about doing more with the same or less. In the run up to the election, the oppostion is keen to present the last 13 years of Labour government as doing exactly the opposite.
Its allegation is that the government has been throwing fistfuls of cash about with no obvious results but noise, heat and wasted energy.The government, meanwhile, is trying to make the case that its spending has had tangible benefits.
The health service, for example, has never been in better shape according to health secretary Andy Burnham. Speaking after last week’s Budget he said: “After a decade of record investment, the NHS is today more resilient, has more capacity and provides better care than ever before.”
The political scrapping is only going to intensify in the run up to the election. Yet, if economic experts are right, whoever gets into power is going to have very little wiggle room when it comes to policy change.
Given the size of the UK’s deficit, future commitments to voters may look very like Henry Ford’s commitment to car buyers. Ford said they could have any colour they liked, as long as it was black. Ministers may find themselves saying: “You can have any new spending commitments you like, as long as they don’t cost anything.”
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