Monday, April 18, 2005

Election 2005 – Health

This issue for me is quite close to the heart. I am very much in favour of the NHS and feel it should be supported at all costs, and made to serve all the people in our country. It is an indication of a civilised country, where no matter someone’s background that their health should be taken care of.

Okay, at the moment that isn’t quite happening, the infamous postcode lottery that exists in our health system, if you are lucky enough to live in a certain region you can get good or relatively good service. I myself know about this from the sharp end, especially with long term healthcare. Audiology departments are not equal across the country, when you have people waiting 2 years for a hearing aid, and only able to visit 2 half days in the week if they need help, I don’t exactly call that a good service. If GPs were only available in that way, things would be changed so fast it would beggar belief.

Well, this election has a big battleground of health, and I have to say, I am not impressed by what the parties are offering. Both the Tories and Labour are offering choice as their big idea. Now the idea of offering choice, might sound attractive, but in a system where choice is impossible to offer, what a load of crock. Back in the 90s we were told that by privatising the railways they were offering choice. Yeah right, how is it possible to offer choice on the railways, when you can’t have competing trains. Again this is another idea where the minute you attempt to offer choice it is going to cause competition between hospitals and services, which really can’t compete anyway, and shouldn’t even be attempting to compete.

All people want is a decent service on their doorstep, not the idea that they can go off somewhere 2/300 miles away to get treatment. Which part of healthcare don’t these two main parties get, I have to say, very unimpressed. The same goes for this idea of Labour for a maximum 18 week wait between seeing the GP and being treated. Well they have spectacularly failed to meet their target of 9 months for an operation, heck I am living proof of it. The only way waiting lists can be reduced is to invest more money in the service, which they have attempted to do, but of the extra money they have put in, barely a quarter is making it to the front line, now there are one can guess many reasons for this. One could be the fact that PFI is sucking up the extra money, another could be all the extra middle managers/administrators in the system, taking much needed money away. If there was so much extra money then why is the world famous Great Ormond Street hospital having money issues, despite treating more children than ever before and struggling to make ends meet. I don’t think that points to a system which is working.

So to judge the parties

Labour - 1/5 overall, it is a nice ideal, to attempt to get 18 weeks max waiting lists, but you have to ask which waiting list, because they now have so many different ones.

Conservatives – 2/5 as well, mainly because they want to reduce the waiting times which is more than admirable, and they want to make the matron of the wards decide whether they should be open or not, i.e. putting the power back into the frontline staff’s hands. And the idea to remove the targets is understandable since it seems to cripple the hospitals, but they need to be made to provide uniform services, so for example all hospitals providing proper audiological services, instead of a crummy 2 half days a week.

Liberal Democrats – 3/5. Their ideas are better, making sure that we increase the resources. Free eye and dental checks, free long term care for the elderly, reducing waiting lists for diagnostics.

Still despite this, none seems to tackle the issues at hand. When you have to wait 9 months plus for an MRI scan, where you have to wait up to 9 months to see a specialist, and even more than 9 months for an operation. You can see how a simple thing turns into more than it should. The NHS should be made to prevent things, not cure. And the first step to prevention is that if you tackle something quickly, it means less money is spent in the longer term, because the longer you wait for an operation, more damage is being done on the parts needing an operation and thus it costs more to fix, more time is taken off work and in recovery as well. So I don’t know, I am sure that I am not the only one who can see this, I am sure that the average Joe in the street can too, but why is it the politicians can’t. Do they really not live in the UK, and are so devoid of normal life?

This is some others links and other people's viewpoint, which are more than worth reading

Campaigns focus on health clash

Who has the best health policy?

1 comment:

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.