As far as the NHS is concerned, I am more convinced than ever that the British public is being ‘sold down the river’. If there was the political will on the part of government to defend the NHS at all costs, it would have been done. Unfortunately, the opposite appears to be true.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that the government is hell-bent on an American-style health system, knowing full well that the British public would not tolerate it at all. How would they go about making the change, without having to accept the blame for it?
The lack of an overall long-term plan is the first step. Putting the NHS at mercy of successive politicians acting as Health Minister, with each of them free to enact their own particular fantasies is a great help. The NHS is pulled one way, then the other, according to the political dogma holding sway at the time, with each change soaking up billions of money in the process – and achieving nothing.
The next item is to starve the NHS of qualified personnel. This forces the need to employ ‘temporary’ staff at vastly inflated rates, and soaks up more money. See:-
NHS hospital pays finance chief rates of £600,000 a year
You can see how well their privatisation measures are doing here:-
‘Appalling service’ provided by Healthcare at Home leaves patients without drugs
Another measure is to centralise everything, on the grounds of so-called “efficiency”. Any properties surplus to requirements after this process can be sold, and the money dissipated on other worthless projects. It is very unlikely to be held in reserve should the NHS need it in the future!
Now, Simon Stevens, the new NHS chief executive, has laid out plans for an expansion in community services to bolster the country’s small hospitals, and provide more care for the elderly. He wants to de-centralise again! I am not saying that he is wrong, but the amount of money that will need to be invested has to come from somewhere.
Otherwise we will end up with this:-
NHS patients ‘could be forced to pay bed and board’
and the American-style system in the UK will become a fact of life!
Of course I blame the politicians! For me the questions are simple enough:-
Do I need nukes, or do I invest in healthcare?
Do I go to war in some foreign country that is really none of my business, or do I look after my own people?
Do I continue to give aid to foreign countries, (that may or may not need it), when more and more of my own citizens are falling into the poverty trap?
Do I spend vast amounts on flagship projects, or do I use the money wisely to safeguard the things that are of real value to the community?
There is not so much time left to get this lot sorted out, with general elections about a year away. The NHS cannot wait that long.
We need to get the existing politicians to understand that the people want the NHS to be maintained in the spirit in which it was formed.
If we fail to do that, then make damned sure that in the next election we get politicians who will do the job we need.
Don’t forget, politicians are past masters at making the outcome of their political choices seem as though it is inevitable, and the only option available.