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A Decade to Shrink NHS Waitlists: Restoring the UK Public Sector

The UK public sector has been under immense pressure for years and recently, the Institute for Public Policy Research has warned that it could take a decade to restore NHS waiting lists to the levels they were at in 2010. The think tank also stated that it would take more than one parliamentary term to bridge the attainment gap between wealthier and poorer secondary school students back to the levels it was at in 2017. 


As the next UK General Election nears, the government formed in 2024 is expected to face some of the toughest political conditions since the Second World War. With the public sector in need of revival and the electorate becoming disengaged, the next government is expected to save the lagging public sector whilst combatting more budget cuts and the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy. 


The current Conservative government are investing more money than ever into the NHS with the aim to increase bed capacity. Despite Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s recent announcement of tax cuts which would impose austerity on the country, the Conservatives also committed to more spending on the NHS, schools and defence if they win the 2024 general election. 


Labour supported Hunt’s tax cuts and fiscal policies, claiming that the tax burden on working households was too high. They face the question as to how they will breathe life into the public sector without raising taxes for the working people and increasing national borrowing and spending. 


With the country relying on the NHS to provide critical healthcare to the growing population, the government are faced with the tough decision of where to find the money to invest in the country’s healthcare system. Whilst being chronically underfunded and struggling to stay afloat post pandemic, the combined pressures caused by an aging population, COVID-19, and financial struggles have left the NHS in a crisis that is expected to take two parliamentary terms to heal. The collision between rising demand and staff shortages has finally taken its toll on the NHS’s 75th birthday leaving the British public uncertain about its future.

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