The NHS – they say savings, we say cuts – let`s call the whole thing off!

It`s difficult for a right-wing government already implementing devastating cuts to libraries, youth services & other areas to sell those same devastating cuts to the public when the area in question is the much-treasured NHS. Therefore the more acceptable term “savings” has been used, sometimes sanitised still further as “efficiency savings”.
The term “savings” is designed to imply that no deterioration or elimination of services will result. In early March, the website Liberal Conspiracy reported that BBC journalists had been instructed to use the word savings instead of cuts.
At the Gloucestershire Health Debate (held on 18th May in Cheltenham), the BBC`s Health Correspondent Branwen Jeffreys, who chaired the debate, demonstrated in her opening words that she favoured the word savings over cuts:
“money is key to the challenge that`s ahead, the NHS budget has been protected but it has to find big savings as well – now in Gloucestershire that`s going to be around £64m just in this year. So, that`s one of the reasons that the argument for change is being made, but are these the right kind of changes?”
Only a mainstream journalist like Jeffreys could describe a budget as being both “protected” and subject to “big savings” – an astonishing example of what George Orwell called doublethink.
A recent article on the False Economy website also illustrated the different language used when it compared the cuts in the neighbouring county of Worcestershire and noted the language used to describe similar size cuts to both the budgets of Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. The WCC used the term cuts while the NHS Trust in its annual report states that it must “deliver over £55m of efficiency savings over the next five years” through a “Cost Improvement Plan”.


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