This NHS crisis is not economic. It’s political – Aditya Chakrabortty

How many times have you read that the NHS is bust? No need for answers on a postcard: I can tell you.

Over 2015, the number of national newspaper headlines featuring “NHS” alongside the words bust, deficit, meltdown or financial crisis came to a grand total of 80. Call this the NHS panic index – a measure of public anxiety over the viability of our health service. Using a database of all national newspapers, our librarians added up the number of such headlines for each year. The index shows that panic over the sustainability of our healthcare isn’t just on the rise ­– it has begun to soar.

During the whole of 2009, just two pieces appeared warning of financial crisis in the NHS. By 2012 that had nudged up a bit, to 12. Then came liftoff: the bust headlines more than doubled to 30 in 2013, before nearly tripling to 82 in 2014. Newspapers such as this one now regularly carry warnings that our entire system of healthcare could go bankrupt – unless, that is, radical change ­are made. For David Prior, the then chair of the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission – and now health minister, that means giving more of the system to private companies.

This means that the press and political classes are now discussing a theoretical impossibility. Think about it for a moment, and you realise the NHS can’t go broke.

Full article in The Guardian 8 February 2016