Ripping the heart out of the NHS – Our NHSOctober 16 2015
Most governments have tinkered around the edges with the NHS, but none have gone right for the heart of it. None until now. The current Tory led government have decided that ripping the heart out of the NHS is the right thing to do. Not even Thatcher dare go that far.
Recently, while sat in A&E waiting to be seen, I overhead one woman saying “these changes can’t be bad if it means I’ll get seen sooner than I am now”. And that really got me thinking. Whilst it seems that the vast majority of people object to the changes to the NHS, do they object because they understand the damage these reforms will have, or do they object purely because it’s the NHS? I still wonder about that woman and whether she realises she’ll only be seen quicker if she’s got a platinum credit card.
Let’s think back to 2009 – 2010. They weren’t happy times, but they were Labour times. You’ll remember that, in neither the Tory nor Lib Dem manifesto, there was no mention of these NHS reforms. In fact, David Cameron said that there’d be no top down reorganisation of the NHS. Maybe he should have told Andrew Lansley (possibly one of the most hated men in England), as what he’s embarked on is the most radical change to the NHS since its founding in the 1940s.
Some of the key changes in terms of the NHS reforms are that it opens up the system to more private healthcare. The government are claiming that this will make the health system more efficient and reduce bureaucracy. This is completely untrue. In fact GPs are already saying how they are having to spend less time with patients so that they can set up and manage GP consortia. These consortia will be tasked with managing the NHS budget. But, the vast majority of GPs don’t want this level of responsibility.
In terms of public support for the NHS reforms, there isn’t any really. If you look at the government’s own ePetition website you’ll find a “drop the bill” petition which has 170,000+ signatures. This pales in comparison with the 38 degreespetition of nearly 600,000 – but the government’s own policy says that any ePetition over 100,000 signatures will have the opportunity to be debated in the House of Commons. But, the government have chosen to ignore this but there was an emergency debate allowed by the Speaker of the Commons. What this shows is an example of Cameron’s Big Society’ in action. It’s a Big Society’ when he says it is.
It’s true that during the past year there have been demonstrations, vigils and petitions. But these aren’t effective. Why isn’t the NHS reform turning into Cameron’s Poll Tax? Why aren’t people on the streets? What has happened to this country that people don’t feel so angry that they’ll take action? It’s all well and good saying that we’ll “tweet” about something, but is that as effective as getting out and protesting?
Labour has said that a Labour government would repeal the Health and Social Care Bill. We all need to make sure that a Labour government is returned as soon as possible, but also that they stick to their words. The danger we have now is that there are three years before the next planned election. This gives the government ample time to move the focus to another area and hope that people forget. We need to make sure that the reforms are kept in peoples’ minds. This is our NHS; we will not let it be ruled by the interests of profit above service, greed above health, and the iron law that only the private sector has any answers worth listening to.