The NHS was, once, one of the most envied and respected institutions in the World “Free Healthcare for all, from the cradle to the grave”. What a wonderful idea, what an inspiring philosophy, and what a difference it has made. People live longer, in less pain, diseases that killed and maimed in the 30’s and 40’s are now things of the past.
Now, however, the NHS has become a political battlefield where Labour and Conservative parties desperately fight to tell us how the other will ’privatise’ the NHS and how much money they will throw at it, if they are voted into power. The truth of the matter is that most Government Ministers have probably only been inside an NHS Hospital on an official visit and that ‘throwing money at it’ is a typical response from a group of very rich career politicians who sincerely believe that money is the answer to all problems and everything works better if its supported by piles of cash. That this is not the case is clearly evidenced by the fact that an 11% pay rise for politicians doesn’t seem to have improved their ‘modus operandi’! Well it isn’t just about money, and “fiddling” with it won’t work either.
UKIP have promised to invest £3 Billion per year for the next 5 years into the NHS. However they are committed to ensuring that this money does not fall into a big hole called ‘middle management’. Reforms would ensure that the money is used for improvements to front line services and, rather than cutting beds and paying managers more, we should be increasing our capacity to deal with an aging population – who did, after all, start and build the NHS – and an increasing usage by people who have not contributed to the system but have an entitlement by way of being EU citizens.
Labour is actually in the process of distributing leaflets saying that UKIP will privatise the NHS and will make it an insurance based system. This is sheer nonsense and UKIP have made it perfectly clear that the NHS will remain free at the point of delivery for all UK Citizens. It is not, and should not become, a free International Health Service.
I take regular holidays in France and, should I fall ill, I have a European health Insurance Card, which, when I present it, means I may be charged for treatment in a French hospital and given a ‘feuille de soins’ (Invoice) for reimbursement, by the NHS, on my return to the UK. I’m sure the same system applies throughout Europe and, surely, should apply in the UK?
I regularly watch a programme on the BBC, at lunch time, about flying doctors in Australia and it is remarkable to note that most of the Doctors and Nurses on the programme are UK born and trained. Could that mean that the terms, conditions and pay in the UK are such that they, along with our better trained Police, Scientists and other Professionals, choose a better life in a different country. Maybe we should look to attracting more of these Professionals to stay in the UK, rather than pander to banker’s bonuses to keep them here.
Whatever the solution for the NHS, it is a long road we have to travel. But the past few successions of Labour and Conservative Government have done nothing to improve the service delivery and the introduction, by Labour, and the continuance, by the Tory’s, of Private Funding Initiatives only makes rich people richer at the expense of your NHS.
Without significant consultation with health care professionals and relevant reform we will continue to see more A&E crises as time goes on, and potentially the disintegration of the NHS under the sheer load.
John E Saxon
Parliamentary Candidate UKIP Gainsborough