Health ser­vice a sick joke

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

SOME­TIMES re­la­tion­ships go on for too long. Both of you know some­thing hasn’t been right for a long time, but no-one has the courage to have THE con­ver­sa­tion.

This is how I see our re­la­tion­ship with the NHS. We have been to­gether for a long time now and we know some­thing is wrong, but we don’t want to talk about it.

It is now time for that chat. It will be dif­fi­cult and there will be a lot of ex­plain­ing to do, but it has to hap­pen and it will be bet­ter for us in the long run.

Re­cent scan­dals in Mid Staffs, Tame­side and Bar­row have made the con­ver­sa­tion eas­ier.

Last week 11 NHS Trusts were placed in “spe­cial mea­sures” or – to use a med­i­cal anal­ogy – a life-sup­port ma­chine.

The Labour Party is do­ing its best to en­sure that we don’t have a con­ver­sa­tion about the fu­ture of the NHS. They be­come com­pletely ir­ra­tional and op­pose any re­form.

The BBC – left wing to its very core – is even sug­gest­ing the NHS should be above pol­i­tics, which is ut­ter guff.

The NHS is po­lit­i­cal. It was born in 1948 as a con­struct of the Labour govern­ment un­der Cle­ment At­tlee.

It be­gan as a re­sult of po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy and I would sug­gest its fu­ture has to be open to po­lit­i­cal de­bate.

The NHS should not re­main the sa­cred cow of Bri­tish pol­i­tics. There should be no bound­aries to the de­bate as we need to be frank – we have a prob­lem.

We are an age­ing pop­u­la­tion with 10mil­lion of us al­ready over 65. This will rise by an­other 5m by 2020, which means that health­care will be­come even more ex­pen­sive.

We are also go­ing to live longer. A boy born to­day is ex­pected to live to 84, and a girl to 92. This will put even more strain on health­care.


Our pop­u­la­tion is also grow­ing. When the NHS was set up in 1948, Bri­tain’s pop­u­la­tion was 50m . By 2050 it’ll be near to 80m.

Drugs are also be­com­ing more com­plex and there­fore more costly.

The NHS is too large. It em­ploys nearly 1.7m peo­ple. It is the sev­enth largest em­ployer in the world.

Only the US Depart­ment of De­fense, the Chi­nese Rail­ways, Wal­mart, McDon­ald’s, the Chi­nese Red Army and Chi­nese Pe­tro­leum em­ploy more peo­ple.

To put this into con­text, the US has the largest de­fence bud­get in the world, Wal­mart and McDon­ald’s are multi-national com­pa­nies, and China has over 1bil­lion peo­ple.

The NHS, by com­par­i­son, only looks af­ter a pop­u­la­tion of 63m peo­ple.

It’s grown so big that one out of ev­ery 16 work­ing peo­ple in the UK works for the NHS.

The main rea­son the NHS is so huge is that it’s stuffed with man­agers and bu­reau­cracy.

For ex­am­ple, of the 1.43m peo­ple work­ing for it in Eng­land in 2011, only 50.5 per cent were clin­i­cally qual­i­fied.

Throw­ing even more money at it is also not the an­swer. Labour’s record in govern­ment proves this.

When they came to power in 1997, the NHS bud­get was just £33bn. When they left of­fice in 2010 it had bal­looned to £96bn.

And re­mem­ber, this is the era when most of the scan­dals were tak­ing place and when MRSA was rife on our wards.

Eco­nom­i­cally the coun­try is a mess. We have a deficit of £89bn and a national debt that is over a tril­lion pounds. Our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren will have to pay this off.

We need, there­fore, to have a de­bate about how to stream­line the NHS and about how to fund health­care in the 21st Cen­tury.

If Labour, the BBC and the trade unions – which call them­selves “Royal Col­leges” in health­care – get their way, this de­bate won’t hap­pen.

The NHS must not be off lim­its. We must dis­cuss it for the sake of our kids and grand­kids.

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