Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mr Cameron - NHS Safe in your hands? ... Mmmm not sure ...

Nice to hear Conservative leader David Cameron making all the right noises about his plans for the NHS whilst he is in opposition. Click here for details

I will reserve my judgment about his plans based on my own experience and recollections of the record of the Conservative Party and the NHS.

It is often conveniently overlook by Conservatives that the Party was violently opposed to the creation of the NHS. In numerous House of Commons debates the Conservatives voted time and again against setting up a free National Health Service before it was finally introduced by the Labour Government of 1948.

Shame also that Mr Cameron forgets to mention the most radical disruption ever to the NHS was under the Tories and Mrs Thatcher who almost destroyed the NHS in the 1980’s - a period that saw healthcare professional groups fighting among one another as anarchy ruled.

I have always been someone who believes leopards should be given a chance to change their spots but I need convincing the NHS would in fact be safe in Conservative hands.

There have already been murmurings behind the scenes from Mr Cameron’s cronies that under a future Conservative Government there would be no limit to privatisation of the NHS.

Since 1997 whether we accept it or not there has been more money than ever before ploughed into the NHS by Mr Blair’s Government. If there is anything wrong with the NHS then we need to look at how that money has been spent by managers rather than blame the Government for lack of investment

I think Mr Cameron’s plans will go on the ‘back burner’ anyway because the Conservatives will I suspect shoot themselves in the foot before the next General Election.

They will probably fail to be elected for a fourth successive Election even though the Labour Party, by its appalling treatment of Tony Blair, is trying really hard to give the control of our Country to the Conservatives.

We will see.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear Trevor, looks like I’m going to have to take issue with you twice in one day!

The world is a very different place from how it was in 1948 and the Conservative Party, and indeed the Labour Party, is a very different animal too. In fact they are quite different from how they were even in Margaret Thatcher’s day. Or at least the leadership is. Of course both parties have the old die-hards who do not recognise a changing world and the need to evolve with it.

Perhaps you should read Chapter Six of an excellent book called ‘Simplicity is the Key’!

As you keep telling us how dangerous it is to be in hospitals run by the NHS, perhaps it would be better if they were privatised. That way the best ones, the ones that took proper care of their customers, would flourish and the worst would go out of business.

The alternative is to adopt what I understand to be the Conservative proposal to set guidelines but let the experts i.e. healthcare professionals, actually run the service. Surely as someone who claims to believe that ‘the front line knows best’, you can’t disagree with this philosophy can you?

Trevor Gay said...

Discussing difference is the way to make progress David so please feel free to keep disagreeing - that's fine by me.

I see you have worked out the website link - well done - not bad for a 30 year old :-)

Thanks for the recommendation of that book - I must get it!

Now some responses:

Mr Cameron may be the ‘new broom’ to change the outlook of the Tories. I genuinely hope so. Regardless of all the spin I still see the Conservative Party as fundamentally anti-NHS. I disagree that the way to improve the healthcare for the ENTIRE population is to privatise the NHS. Privatisation is ok for those who can afford it and for those who only use the NHS now and again. The people who will ‘fall through the net’ will be the elderly and those people suffering chronic problems such as learning disability or mental health problems. These groups are always at the back of the queue when it comes to dishing out financial resources – they are ‘Cinderella services’ compared with the more ‘glamorous’ healthcare services like Maternity, Cancer, Heart Disease, Accident and Emergency etc., - the ‘Acute’ care sector

A truly NATIONAL Health Service means that the resources must cover all groups – a privatised service in my opinion would result in the less glamorous services missing out. I am not against competition but not at the expense of long term patients. I think a NATIONAL Health Service will always be protected by Labour – I am not sure the same can be said of the Tory policy

As regards the Tories supposed ‘new’ idea of healthcare professionals running the service that is not new at all and is what we have now. If you look at the way the NHS should be working the important decisions in healthcare are made by managers informed by doctors and nurses and other clinicians working at the front line.

I have always said staff at the front line know the right answers and what I suspect will happen under the Tory ethos is that more power will go to managers and less to front line staff - that has always been the Tory policy and I suspect it always will be their style. I hope I am wrong