Monday, March 19, 2012

We can't afford to let the NHS go.

I'd better preface this post with the following disclaimer, in case it should be less than abso-fucking-lutely obvious: I do not think too highly of the ideologies of the Conservative party (or, for that matter, their Liberal Democrat whipping boys in the current "coalition".  Waste of my vote that was), their actions or their smug bastard faces.

One of the things I like the least about them is their drive to privatise everything they can, seemingly regardless of whether it is a good idea to do so.  The most offensive of these is the NHS.  "Oh no, we're not privatising the NHS" says Lansley.  But they are.  Surreptitiously.  Insidiously.  

I'm no expert on stuff like this.  I'm not really clever enough to understand all of what's going on.  The to and fro between commons and lords, the revisions, alterations and re-wordings which go into policy changes.  I watched the final of University Challenge this evening and didn't answer a single question.  Not one.  So I have no chance when it comes to politics.

But what I do know, is that there are a lot of people in this country who can't afford private healthcare.  I don't think I'm one of them, though I haven't looked into it.  I'm reasonably young, reasonably healthy, don't have a raft of "existing conditions" which an insurer could use to ramp up my premiums.  But I'm lucky.  I know people who would be laughed off the phone if they tried to get a quote for medical cover.

So what happens to those people?  Let's (briefly) drift onto the topic of parenting shall we?  Let's say that your medical insurance quote was prohibitively expensive and you had no choice but to hope you were lucky with your health.  Then you get pregnant.  A quick Google suggests that this is not something you should undertake unless you are the possessor of some pretty deep pockets:

So, in total, a private birth at a hospital such as the Portland could cost £7,500 to £10,000. 
Hmm.  Bargain.  That figure includes at least one night's stay in the hospital, at the meagre cost of £1,000.  Seriously.  I stayed in a private hospital for a night once (under NHS care, I'd been lucky enough to hit the end of the allowable waiting time, whereupon you are outsourced to a private facility) and it was not the plush-fest I'd been expecting.  They didn't even give me any bloody morphine.

I don't know.  Pregnancy probably isn't the best example of how bad it could be, but this is meant to be some kind of parenting blog.

I hate the idea of the UK moving toward a US style system, where hundreds of thousands of people are just one serious illness away from having to make a choice between bankruptcy and death.  In a world where there is a workable alternative to that situation, no matter how imperfect that alternative may be, surely that alternative (especially when it represents the status quo) MUST be the preferred option?

Apparently not if you're a Tory.


  1. Firstly, kudos on liberally peppering your first paragraph with profanity!!!

    Secondly, yes, something has to change with the NHS system, birth is actually a v. good example, there is a lot that needs to be improved in the quality or the service and care provided.

    I quite like the idea of the German health care model, which is also employed in other Euro countries. It isn't perfect, but at least everyone is covered and it works efficiently (hear that NHS, efficiently).

    1. Thanks, thought it was warranted!

      I am in no way averse to NHS reform on the whole, but I don't believe for one minute that the current government has the best interests of its citizens at heart.

      Thanks for reading! :-)