Saturday, August 15, 2009

Debating the Pros and Cons of the NHS

I knew it would happen sooner or later, I've been taken to task by a Conservative blogger, namely Andrew Allison. Put simply, you don't point out splits within the Conservative Party regarding the NHS and not expect to be criticised or attacked.
So lets take his (and other Conservative bloggers) comments about stifling debate to task, although first of all I would point out with regard to his comment that I should "Grow up!", that I was simply pointing out Tory splits, that as a Labour Party activist (or indeed any activist from any rival political party), you could hardly expect me to not comment on such a split and that many Conservative activists would do the same on another issue if they spotted a discrepancy from Labour. Put simply, you have been caught out during what had been a bad week for the Conservatives, thats politics!
As it is I do have some respect for Andrew and he does raise some valid points that are worth debating. When he states that;

"I am not a fan of the NHS, but I am a fan of universal healthcare. I wouldn't wish the American system on Britain and likewise, I wouldn't wish the British system on America. I don't love the NHS, as I find it impossible to love a healthcare system. I love my family, not an institution. I am not a right-wing ideologue because I think Germany - which has free at the point of use healthcare - delivers better value and better choice for its citizens."

he actually has hit on some home truths. American healthcare isn't perfect (in spite of what some commentators on Fox would have you believe) and, yes, neither is the NHS, but what is at the crux of debate here is comparing American health care with British healthcare and I have to say that, for all its faults, the NHS is better for many people. Some of the #welovethenhs tweets have touched on this. Many have pointed out that if they didn't get immediate healthcare and had worried about hospital bills they would have died, or had suffered further with their health. I can also testify to this, I have asthma and I have not been in highly paid jobs since I have graduated, in fact many have been on the National Minimum Wage, so to get prescriptions for my inhailers that do not cost much and to get free check ups is a great bonus, because, trust me, if the circumstances were different I would avoid going to the Doctor's if I could!
Many others have told their stories, some worse than mine. Yes, to answer the critics who dismiss them as such, they are emotive, but this is a highly emotive issue that deals with life and death and there are some Tory critics, not all, who want to see the NHS privatised because they abhor any form of state intervention in people's lives. The real tragedy here is that the word "lives" is the linch pin to the debate, not ideological posturing.


kensington and chelsea said...

WHO ranking does not say much for USA

Paul said...

How lucky we are that we live in the UK and have access to the NHS. Pity the poor unfortunates who live in Other Countries where doctors and nurses are unheard of and people are left to die in the streets from life-threatening conditions such as athlete's foot and hiccups.

The NHS is a 20th century institution and this is the 21st century. We ought to be able to talk about fixing it or even replacing it without all this hysteria.