Friday, July 13, 2012

The NHS is dying. Don't let it.

For a more in depth read on the death throes of the NHS, follow the links at the bottom, suffice to say, the Health and Social Care Bill aka the NHS Bill is slowly dismantling the NHS.
  • The Secretary of State for Health is no longer formally committed to providing health care for every woman, man and child in England (not the rest of the UK though, yet). This was a founding principle of the NHS.
  • There was a limit of 2% for private patients in NHS hospitals, this is now 49%. The founding principle of supply based on need, not the ability to pay, has gone, as doctors and nurses are saying this will essentially lead to a two tier health service.
  • The NHS was one of the world's most efficient health systems. Simply put: NHS: integrated, comprehensive, cost-effective, accountable. Mix providers: fragmented, unaccountable, expensive, only profitable services. 
  • Here's a map of how the UK's already getting carved up

This morning, it was falsely announced that the 49% cap would be scrapped. But hearing that it would be scrapped didn't surprise me, and it has prompted me to write this post. I've blogged before about saving the NHS, but once is not enough, more action needs to be taken.

Here's what we need to do to stop the wholesale privatisation of the NHS:

1. Get informed, you can get up to speed (if you are not already) here. Also follow @DrEoinClarke and @marcuschown who are doing stirling work researching, and spreading awareness, of the what's happening to the NHS.

2. Write to your MP. Express displeasure at what is happening. You can find out how they voted on the  Bill at 13 March was the vote to stop the NHS bill. If they voted for this motion, thank them for trying to prevent the NHS bill. If they voted against, let them know how you feel, especially if it means you will not vote for them again.

3. As Eoin Clarke advised this morning: "If you are a supporter of the NHS, the best things you can do are a) share information rapidly & widely b) harness anger c) build alliances". Let people know. Spread the word, get active. Write to your local newspapers about what's happening. You don't have to spend hours at a time doing this. Just take a 15 minute break from Words with Friends and write an email. Maybe retweet something from your phone during an ad break on TV. But do something. 

The NHS has cared for us since 1954. Now we need to care for it.

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