Health service a sick joke
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.