38 Degrees get it badly wrong on Lib Dem funding for NHS – but don’t do nearly enough to put it right

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a fact of life. However, when you do, you need to properly acknowledge it and make amends.

One of the key Liberal Democrat priorities for this election is that we would fund the £8 billion that the NHS in England needs. In fact, we’re spending more than that on health because  there are Barnett consequentials giving about another billion to Scotland and Wales. It’s not difficult to understand.

Last Thursday, campaign organisation 38 Degrees put up a graphic on its Facebook page which compared party’s pledges against what the NHS needed. The figure cited for the Liberal Democrats was just £2 billion, a mere quarter of what we intend to spend.  This has now been shared by over 1400 people and has been seen by many, many more.

Many people have pointed out the glaring error in their graphic. To each comment, the organisation has made an individual reply:

38 Degrees apology over NHS


The many people who shared that graphic will have to go looking for that apology. Have they amended the graph? Nope. Have they deleted the post? Nope. Is there anything on their website to say that they got it so wrong? Nope.

People are still sharing that powerful and wrong graphic. It’s time for 38 Degrees to state explicitly that only the Liberal Democrats have pledged to fully fund what the NHS says it needs by the end of the next Parliament.

As for the rest of their campaign, their poster claiming that politicians have “privatised huge parts of the NHS” is complete nonsense. The decision making is in publicly owned hands. A very small amount of private services are used. We’re talking around 6% here. That’s not “huge” by anyone’s standards. We also need to take into consideration that Labour wasted a fortune on deals with the private sector and the coalition has put a stop to that.

This is not the first time that the credibility of 38 Degrees  has been called into question. People should treat what they say with a very large pinch of salt and verify their claims from independent sources. This is all the more important when they don’t properly acknowledge when they get it wrong.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings