As a tax barrister I often hear a Treasury line that taxes pay for schools and hospitals. But that also means the government has to honour it’s side. So I was intrigued that a report urging NHS England patients not to use hospital accident and emergency for non-critical care missed a big point. People pay taxes for health care. But a lot of patients have no real out-of-hours GP cover, or anything else to rely on, so are forced to use hospital A&E for healthcare.
Healthwatch England, who produced the report, are spot-on trying to help people access local non-A&E services, where they exist. But some media coverage is almost criticising patients and blaming them for the problem. That is not right. Especially when the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament said it was amazed neither the Department of Health nor NHS England had a clear strategy to tackle the shortage of A&E consultants.
Tax Barrister, Accountant