I’ve put my finger on why Cameron’s “the NHS is safe in our hands” speech sounded a bit odd: he said “Under a Conservative government, the NHS will remain free at the point of need” – not, as is traditional, “at the point of use“.
There’s a subtle difference there, but potentially an important one. If you started fining the time-wasters, hypochondriacs and people who fail to show up for appointments with doctors, dentists etc., and stopped paying for or subsidising costly but not entirely necessary surgery (for example – off the top of my head – the fitting of dental braces, which are themselves subsidised), you may be able to save a modest amount of money while simultaneously making the service more efficient by discouraging misallocation of resources.
Is this what Cameron is intending? The disapproval of the NHS subsiding private treatments is a vague indication that it might be.
Or am I talking absolute bollocks?