Woo Hoo! I've been appointed to the Cabinet! Well, Mark Wadsworth's Cabinet anyway. I initially declared an interest (OK, you got me, begged on my knees) in the Health gig so I could abolish some regional DoH satellite Quangos whose sole purpose is to bully us into living life how we are told. However, I got something slightly different.
Administering Health Vouchers & Denationalising the NHS - Dick Puddlecote
"Hold on", I hear some say in angst, "Denationalising the NHS? Steady on, Dick".
But why not? The country's biggest sacred cow is the NHS, the 'free at the point of delivery' aspect, it seems, is one of our biggest cares. It is also just about the biggest misdirection of the truth the Government currently throw at us. Even the hint that a political party aims to privatise any part of the NHS is met with widespread scaremongering by 'Health Professionals'. But then, they would. There are nearly 600,000 of them who don't ever see a patient. That's 1% of the total population.
The misdirection part is the ' ... at the point of delivery'. Sounds like it's free but it's quite plainly not, is it? It's far from free. The latest estimate of average earnings by the ONS is £24,888 as at April 2008. This means that the average wage earner is (by my fairly accurate calculation) paying £178.13 per month for their healthcare, whatever their risk of needing medical attention. That's over two grand a year. Quite an insurance premium, and if there is more than one wage earner in your family, you pay it twice or perhaps even more.
Mark's 'Prime Minister' is Obnoxio the Clown, who has set out this policy for his administration.
8. Sack every non-medical person in the NHS apart from the switchboard operators. Break up the NHS so that every hospital, dentist and GP practise is its own business. Restrict "free at point of delivery" to A&E and long-term illnesses only. Everyone can "go private". Voucher system for state contribution to the medical insurance of your choice which will be sufficient for basic health care at any insurance provider.
Sounds good to me. Still 'free at the point of delivery' for urgent or unavoidable long-term illness, and the state doesn't just leave anyone to rot (a common lie when deregulation of the NHS is mentioned), even if they sit on their arse watching Jeremy Kyle and eating Krispy Kremes all day.
The important, and personally most attractive, part of it though, is that YOU become the controller of your own healthcare. YOU become the boss again.
If your GP keeps nannying you, tell him to get stuffed, you're taking your business elsewhere. If the local GP receptionist won't let you pre-book an appointment as The Womble recently experienced, same response, plus they'll probably get the sack for being an obstructive moron and losing the business for the health provider, that is, they will have to improve their customer service. YOU will once again have a say in how you are treated. They will have to treat you with respect. You won't be just a few notes on a piece of card and a way of recharging the internal market.
Even those who don't earn but receive vouchers from the state will still benefit from this power. Vouchers, after all, will be redeemable from the Government for cash, and losing patients will adversely affect the health provider's business.
On a national scale (and I'm not sure we've fully thought this through now we're in charge), it means that us politicians, when short of funds for Health, CANNOT MAKE SAVINGS BY MAKING THE PUBLIC FIT THEIR LIFESTYLES AROUND US. Quite the opposite, we will either have to spend more as the public's freedom requires it, or have to make savings elsewhere to fit in with the way the public have chosen to live their life.
Not that much saving should be required anyway, most of those who enjoy 'risky' lifestyles will simply pay a bit more for their care. If cost-cutting is required though, 600,000 seminar-attending, blackberry-equipped, lifestyle-hectoring health professionals would be a start.
The way it SHOULD be. The health service reacting to demands from the public, rather than the public being forced to change their chosen way of life, to fit the funding that we choose to spend on the health service.
The new Health Bill will be presented to the Queen, by our esteemed PM, Obnoxio, in due course. In the meantime, in my capacity as Government Minister, I shall be writing to those affected by the changes. Smokefree North West, put your offices up for rent and find a paying job that serves a purpose which doesn't involve treating people as lepers. Alcohol Concern, that yearly grant ... not happening. ASH, do your future lobbying from the £11k you get from the pitiful number of people who give a toss, as you won't be getting any cash from us. Pharmaceutical companies, you can't take the piss anymore, charge a realistic price or BUPA will go elsewhere (may I suggest you save overhead by stopping giving ASH money). No job-for-lifers buying your products now, just private sector staff who will be at your throats for savings. 'Health Professional' parasites, take your chances in the private sector.
I hereby commend this motion to the House.