Tuesday, 17 January 2012



If you watch the TV news, it gives more time to the results of X-Factor than to the destruction of the National Health Service. Apart from a few amendments in the House of Lords, it seems that the lamentable NHS reform bill will be passed, effectively abolishing the Health Minister’s responsibility for providing health care.**

That is outrageous. Here in Headington the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre has launched an appeal for funds, like a charity. This is shameful. The Oxfordshire County Council has cut £119 million worth of public services in the past year and is getting ready for another round of cuts now. Some organisations claims that “closing tax loopholes” will bridge this gap but instead of charging more tax, why don’t we stop paying tens of billions of pounds in EU bailouts?

If we left the EU, we would have an extra £45 million per DAY to spend.
With that money we could train more nurses and build more hospitals, closing all PFI hospitals and telling the private companies to go to hell.
It is simply not true that we cannot afford it.
At present, the result of the Private Finance Initiative system, which has been introduced by both Conservative and Labour, is that private companies are making profits out of the Health Service even while spending and care are being drastically cut. The private companies charge the hospitals huge interest payments on outstanding loans, and have contracts that enable them to exploit every little bit of maintenance or upkeep to make huge profits. They can charge thousands of pounds just to change a few lightbulbs.*

PFI is a major disaster for this whole country. Labour and the
Conservatives are both blaming each other and neither of them has the
honesty to admit that PFI is needed to comply with EU directives,
which make it imperative to reduce or somehow conceal government
spending. To save the NHS we must leave the EU.

At this very moment we are facing a demand for another £17 billion to be paid into the IMF for EU bail-outs. Just think what that money could do for the NHS and geriatric social care in this country.

With the money we save we could also build more old people's homes and monitor them more carefully. There is an urgent, growing need for geriatric care in the UK. It is UKIP policy to make all medical training free for tax-paying UK citizens. At present you have to do a degree in nursing at your own expense which puts many people off. Training more nurses and hospital assistants would help to reduce unemployment too. Why pay young fit people to stay on the dole? At present EU laws enable foreign nurses to work here too easily when they do not have good enough standards of English. It is illegal to “discriminate” against them even when this causes grave problems for the patients. According to an official NHS report, 90% of hospitals fail to check on nurses’ English! “Language problems often only come to light when patients find that their requests for more pain relief or different food are not understood.” ***
It is not racist to suggest that more British people could and should fill the vacancies in our own hospitals. The standard of foreign nurses is very uneven: some are good of course but some are terrible. One patient recently described how a foreign nurse laughed and did nothing to help her as she gave birth to a still born child.****

This is part of a much larger problem of the transient, drop-in culture. Six months here, six months there has become a normal career pattern but it is not suitable for health care. We are importing nurses hurriedly from all over the world, on short-term contracts, and we cannot guarantee that their training or their attitude to their work is acceptable. I would like to see our NHS in a position to choose its nurses far more carefully – of course allow some foreigners if they are good enough, but not simply rely on them because people here are unqualified. A lot of temporary foreign nurses are recruited by agencies so they cost far more than an NHS nurse. They jump off a plane, stay a few months, then go elsewhere. I think we need committed, long-term nurses who work their entire career here and look forward to a pension that cannot be snatched away at the last minute.
With the billions of pounds that policy saved in benefit pay-outs, after a few years we could start to abolish prescription charges. It would be a good idea to reduce these by £1 per year until they returned to zero. Of course I would order a clamp-down on on health tourism. People who take health services they are not legally entitled to are stealing money from our pensioners, who paid for it. It is no better than breaking into old peoples' houses and beating them up. Stealing is stealing.
If we refuse to give any more money to EU bail-outs, we could spend it on improved care for the elderly here and better pensions.

*“Hospitals have been forced to shell out £242 just to change a padlock
and £13,704 to install three lights at a North Staffs Trust hospital
as a result of PFI deals.”
**http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/dec/21/nhs-reform-bill-threatens-survival See also http://oxfordsos.org.uk/
*** www.dailymail.co.uk quoting an NHS watchdog.

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