Roughly 20 years ago my father passed away in Scarborough Hospital. I had been phoned in Sheffield and told to get through to Scarborough ASAP if I wanted to say goodbye to him.
In the event he hung on for 3 days before eventually dying of what was officially described as heart failure but really he was 89 and was simply worn out.
During the time I spent with him he had superb care and I was met with nothing but support and kindness from the hospital staff who kept me fed and watered and provided emotional support.
He was on an open ward and when he died they pulled the curtains around his bed. He died therefore with dignity and let me say again I have nothing but praise for the hospital and its staff.
However does a dying man not deserve a room of his own?
In similar vein I have supported a number of campaigns recently by individuals seeking NHS approval to use a particular procedure or specific drug as the only possible method that might save someone’s life. Some have been successful, some have not but the criterion used was whether approval of the treatment would be “cost effective”.
WHAT COULD BE MORE “ EFFECTIVE “ THAN POSSIBLY SAVING THE LIFE OF A BRITISH CITIZEN? WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO SPEND PUBLIC MONEY ON THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT?
I suppose there are very occasional cases where the chances of success are so remote that proceeding would only prolong someone’s suffering but for the most part if there is any realistic chance of success then it should be standard procedure to provide funding in these cases.
Currently Labour and many other groups seem to be fighting to keep the NHS at some sort of functional level but should we not be fighting for a literally first class service-on a par with that provided in private hospitals for instance?
Too expensive ? A lot of people including quite a few Labour MPs would probably say this is cloud cuckoo land especially at present BUT:-
- As one Labour MP recently pointed out the Government can find £60 billion to spend on a rail scheme enabling people to get from Sheffield to London 20 minutes sooner!
- Most of the banks seem to have recovered now - how about we get back the money they were given to bail them out?
- Taxes on higher earning individuals or on stock market transactions could be ear-marked for the NHS and opinion polls show public approval for this.
In short Austerity is not only a political choice rather than a necessity it is quite simply a pile of CRAP hiding an agenda which includes covert (and not so covert) privatisation.
I still feel that Labour is been too tentative on this issuewe should be doing more to highlight the privatisation aspect and we should be setting out a plan for an NHS which aims at excellence and puts the organisation at the front of the spending que –ahead of Defence,ahead of expensive rail projects and ahead of the interests of the wealthy few.
In the words of the great Anarchist slogan: Be Realistic. Demand the Impossible. Demand a first rate NHS
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