Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UK government destroys the nation's health

Britain's health system is undergoing an unprecedented shake-up. The National Health Service (NHS) may have seen numerous reforms and attempts at restructuring since it was first established after the second world war in 1948 as a fully tax-funded service free at the point of use, but if you listen to health professionals up and down the country this time it is likely going to be stabbed to death. The government wants to get rid of a service which keeps costing money. According to Tony Blair "the only way the NHS is going to improve is to keep the money coming in, not to cut it back". More sensible people would argue that the whole idea of public services is to spend tax money in order to improve people's standard of living, but this is not how governments see it nowadays. With the exception of fighting wars abroad, where the question of who pays the bill is hardly ever asked, public services are all scrutinised by economic standards of yields and profits.

Between now and next Spring many hospitals have been asked to make impossible savings in order to make the budget look good. They responding by reducing their most expensive assets, professional doctors and consultants. Up to a fifth of hospital staff are being axed in a frenzy to make the figures look good, and those most senior and with the greatest experience are the first to go since they cost the most. Once being bled nearly to death like that it is highly unlikely that the NHS will every recover.

NHS euthanasia is the unimaginative answer of the government to the long-term suffering of the health service, and the health of the nation will be dealt a mortal blow. Those who can afford it will go private, those who cannot pay their way will have to put up with a substandard service: New Labour cares little about the underdog. And in order to withdraw vital treatment from the NHS the advocates of staff cuts and savings are doctoring the facts, claiming that the increase in costs were entirely due to an increase in the cost of equipment and medicines as well as poor local management. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real ailment the NHS suffers from is that, like everywhere else in modern Britain, real wealth and value are being sacrificed on the altar of high finance.

The ever rising tax contributions made by British citizens is not due to an increase in services provided in return, it is a levy to repay government borrowing through national and local debt. This debt, which came about by permitting banks to create new money into existence backed by government guarantees, is gradually becoming impossible to pay off, and since the Thatcher years both the Conservative and Labour governments have been selling off what remained of the nation's "family silver". With the exception of the finance and insurance companies in the City of London, the rest of the country had to contract. What really killed the NHS were the so-called public-private partnerships (PPP) and the private finance initiative (PFI) strongly opposed by the British Medical Association at the time. Instead of resourcing the health service, the government postponed problems by mortgaging it to private financers, gradually pushing the NHS into insurmountable debt. An article in the British Medical Journal back in 1999 gave a good overview of the looming consequences of this scheme of folly, today we are reaping the rewards.

Our government stopped being the servant of the people long ago and became the servant of the rich and powerful, the bankers and speculators whose power extends to creating and manipulating the money supply of most nations and make their citizens pay the price through ever-increasing taxation. Until we wrestle the control of our money supply back from them we will continue paying the price.


At 29 November 2006 at 13:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, but where can we go from here? Moral is at an all time low, £12bn got wasted on a computer system that will never work (you should see isoft's offices in banbury, cheeky ****).

The service kinda got screwed really.


Post a Comment

<< Home