BMA campaigns to “look after our NHS”
I can’t quite work out if we should be jumping up and down with joy, but suddenly cancer patients seem to be flavour of the month.
Instead of looking for a baby to kiss – remember those days? all parties are keen to woo us. Today thanks to PC etc. cancer patients have taken their place.
So why am I suspicious? As a patient in the middle of what is brewing up to be a political storm, I want to shout “I AM THE PATIENT – YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT ME – NOT WHAT IS VOTE CATCHING!”
As the political football to be kicked about whichever way the main parties want to show off their credentials, and hung out to show the ‘caring’ side of whichever party is on that day’s platform, when the election is over we, and our problems, will be kicked into a corner and forgotten.
Now, the latest organisation to set out to woo us is the British Medical Association (BMA). Its “Look after our NHS” campaign has existed since last year, but was aimed at medical professionals. Now organisers are taking their campaign public and asking us to support them.
However, instead of asking US what WE want – “Look after our NHS” opposes private sector involvement in the NHS.
The BMA argue that the focus of private companies will always be profits and dividends for their shareholders, rather than reinvesting the money in better care, treatments, or research and development.
The campaign argues that if budget cuts are inevitable, given the state of the UK’s public finances then the brunt of these cuts should focus on the cost of private sector involvement in the NHS. The NHS should be publicly funded and its services should be publicly provided.
Have they actually looked at the cost of private treatment? Seen how private hospitals are running their theatres more efficiently – and in some cases seven days a week? Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning is often the busiest time of the week in private hospitals; that is when the Consultants operate in private hospitals as their NHS hospitals’ theatres are shut from Friday mid-day.
Just before he resigned, Lord Darzi spoke in a key-note speech on how French people, who pay a combination of taxes and private insurance for their medical care, actually pay less per head than we do in taxes to fund the NHS.
I am reminded of asking the head of a 500-bed German hospital “where is the Administration block?” In her hospital the doctors seemed to be running things – where were the Administrators? Her reply, “if I had as many administrators as you have in British hospitals, the Insurance companies would be asking why I was wasting their money”.
So involving the private sector can cut down on over-spend.
Instead of banging away on the old, old platform hitting at the ‘rich’, shouldn’t the BMA be campaigning for the NHS to be taken away from the political arena and run by those most closely involved – with input from patients? How can we have an efficient health service if it answers to whichever political party is in power? We have had to many changes at the top in recent years, and not one was any use – John Reid, Patricia Hewitt, now Andy Burnham – did any one of those politically-appointed Ministers do anything for our benefit? No – is the answer. All their stupid initiatives and changes were politically- led, led to massive over-spend and have led to patients being unable to get through to book an appointment – so administrators boast they have cut down waiting lists, political quangos have refused funding for drugs which are regularly prescribed to patients in Europe, etc.
The BMA should be campaigning to get control of the NHS back into the medical sector – take it away from politicians – then work out if some services might be handled more efficiently by the private sector, and what the NHS could copy from them. For the patients’ benefit.
The BMA campaign plans to distribute leaflets and posters to GP practices through its members. www.lookafterournhs.org.uk.