The NHS will be a completely different healthcare system in five-10 years time. A system, which I believe will signal the end of the National Health Service, and a system that will be much worse in terms of access, equity, health outcomes, and cost. The NHS will just be a logo; a most cherished institution reduced from being the main provider of heath services in England with one of the biggest workforces in the world, to a US style insurance scheme, divorced from the actual delivery of any care. It will be reduced to a bureaucratic governing body dishing out public money to private companies.
It beggars belief that Cameron and Clegg can’t grasp just how much the NHS means to the British public. The Prime Minister bangs on about his ‘Big Society’,” but what he doesn’t seem to realise is the NHS is the best example we’ve got of a big society. It’s a unique example of a civilised society, caring and helping those not so fortunate.
Waiting times in Accident & Emergency Departments, have reached an eight year high with a 25% increase. The £20 billion of savings /cuts the NHS staff are being asked to find (including through the sacking of more than 24,000 staff) is beginning to cost lives. The NHS is one area where “clearing up Labour’s mess” really does not apply as a defence. By all international standards, the NHS was more efficient and gave better value for money when the last Labour Government left office.
The reforms would be demoralising, not just for professionals but for patients too, who would begin to see fewer treatments available to fewer people as the NHS cuts start to bite – with wealthier people able to “top up” treatments. The rich really will be able to have much more. It’s not just a postcode lottery, it’s a taxcode lottery.
The morale of the NHS work force is at all time low & Lansley, now wants to impose pension reforms. It’s akin to kicking you when you’re already down. A new “affordable” pension deal was agreed in 2008 but Lansley is now using the 10 downing street inflicted double recession as an excuse to make the case for further reform. Doctors feel betrayed that a pension contract that they signed up to can be ripped up so readily. Andrew Lansley’s line on doctor’s pension in the media is utter rubbish. He accuses doctors of being greedy, and militant and not acting professionally. He says,it would harm patients, and doctors are seeking to get a better deal than others, and as the country is in an economic downturn,the taxpayer who pays their pensions can’t afford it. This is a complete distortion of the truth. GPs pay for their own pension pot which is, in effect, a simple savings scheme except for the anomaly that GPs will pay in more than they can get out. It’s like putting £100,000 in the bank and after 30 years getting £90,000 back. This vote for industrial action isn’t just about the government’s attack on pensions – it’s about the dismantling of public services. Iindustrial action probably would not have been supported had doctors not felt frustrated and deeply worried by the undemocratic imposition of the Health and Social Care Act.
The Health and Social Care Bill started like a parody, a comedy even which has turned into a social drama and we will soon be experiencing some major thriller scenes. It is not only the health but largely the social implications of the privatisation and the corruption that comes with the territory of inequalities. I want to hope that this metamorphosis will be short lived and will accompany this government and the Prime Minister on their way out of no10. Until then we must continue to fight and preserve what we hold in the highest esteem, providing the best health care to our patients.