Monday, 6 January 2014

Letter to Guardian on NHS

Whilst there is probably little doubt that "people with long-term medical conditions" are causing immense problems for the NHS, one has to question both whether their number will "overwhelm" it, and the wisdom of using the exact word spoken by Dr Martin McShane in your headline (Soaring cost of long-term care threatens to "overwhelm" NHS, 04/01/14) Of course, you want to stress the urgency of the situation, and are right to do so, but is it not also important to discuss problems facing the NHS in a measured and considered way, without alarmist headlines, leading to knee-jerk reactions, such as ones Paddy Ashdown has clearly witnessed? (Mood in Britain is frightening,04/01/14) The Tories and their Lib Dem puppets have already started their dismantling of the NHS, and will be looking to exploit such problems to further its aim of privatisation.With the coalition`s "economy with the truth" now reaching legendary status, it has become almost impossible to determine the difference between reality and propaganda,and we already know how this government proceeds with its privatisation programme, concentrating first on constant fault-finding of the state-owned institution for "justification", with the so-called failings often the inevitable result of job and financial cuts made by the government itself! Individual examples of failure are highlighted to give misleading impressions of the institution generally; huge media coverage follows, with the Mail, Express and even the BBC at the helm, leading to hysterical and alarmist conclusions; empirical evidence is ignored, and inaccurate data quoted repeatedly, with, of course, the costs to the taxpayer exaggerated. Remember Tory annoyance with the opening ceremony of the Olympics? The NHS is a main target for privatisation, with the overall aim being further reduction in the size and role of the state, and a mouth-watering pre-election promise of tax reductions to gullible Tory voters.
    This is not to deny the existence of problems within the NHS, but they are both inevitable given the longevity of "geriboomers" and the action of an unsympathetic government, and solvable, with public and future government support. Labour needs to step up its support now and not just from Andy Burnham; the whole party needs to shout it from the rooftops, before the Tory and Ukip propaganda machines spread even more bile in the build-up to the European elections. The country does not want the NHS privatised, as there is so much evidence, from railways to energy, that privatisation simply leads to the desire for profits taking precedence, to so-called "efficiency" leading to job cuts, and to needs of shareholders having priority over consumers.It would mean the end of the NHS as we know it!

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