Yesterday was a sad day for those of us who believe in the National Health Service. The cartoon above sums it up….The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 (as it will become when the Queen grants it Royal Assent later this week) will effectively mean the following:
Doctors will then get the green light to set up clinical commissioning groups.
This patchwork of GPs, which will eventually cover all areas of the country, will be in charge of what treatment patients in their area receive.
They should be set up by April 2013, taking over the job currently done by experts on Primary Care Trusts.
The groups will gradually be handed responsibility for £60 billion of NHS funds.
Experts say clause 49 of the Bill gives GPs the go-ahead to start charging for some vital services which are now free.
Doctors fear wards – and even entire hospitals – could close if the practitioners send too few patients their way.
This list, to me, marks the death knell of the National Health Service that I grew up with. I remember that I was once in conversation with someone who pointed out that the quality of my life as a U.K. citizen was enhanced by the National Health Service being free to all. This was not the case in places like the United States where, most of the time, you needed to have money to cover the possibility of medical expenses should you fall ill.
As I grew up I took the NHS for granted. It was always there when you needed it. It was there when my mother and brother both had to be hospitalised within a day of each other in 1968. It was there when I had my one and (so far) only period of hospitalisation in 1966 to have my Tonsils and Adenoids removed. It was there for my youngest brother to have his eye operated on in one of the foremost Eye Hospitals in the world.
It wasn’t just there for my family though, it was there for everyone and most importantly it was free! During the 70’s 80’s and 90’s there was constant discussion about “reforming” the NHS and about cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy but no Government would ever consider the widespread changes that the 2012 Act is bringing about. The NHS was “safe in their hands”.
The collapse of American banks has led to the widespread public spending cuts here in the U.K. The NHS did not cause the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 but is certainly paying for the consequences of its aftermath.
Sadly for me the worst part of all of this is the guilt that I carry, along with so many others, for having voted for the Liberal Democrats in the last General Election. I did not, in my wildest dreams, believe that I would ever witness the leader of this party smiling as his followers allowed the Conservatives to introduce such a draconian piece of legislation that would see the possible (some say inevitable) closure of hospital wards, the introduction of widespread privatisation of NHS resources and services and the closure of facilities that would cause problems for many in accessing them and mean hardship, pain and suffering.
Yesterday was indeed a sad day for my country. It may have been a great one for the Coalition Government.. it was certainly a red letter day for the people who will be making profits on the back of human suffering. R.I.P. our NHS.
- Health and social care bill was a deep failure of Conservative politics (guardian.co.uk)
- NHS reforms: what does the National Health Service mean to you? (guardian.co.uk)
- You: NHS reform: health and social care bill passes its final hurdle (guardian.co.uk)
- Why I’m against the Health and Social Care Bill (drlj.wordpress.com)
- Why I love the NHS (jawdroppingsurgery.wordpress.com)
- God save the Queen, God help the NHS: MPs fawn over one national treasure while the Coalition destroys another (mirror.co.uk)