Monday, 17 January 2011

The Tories can forget about power if David Cameron ruins our health service

With the deluge of new policies almost a daily event, it is odd to recall in the years ahead of last May’s General Election, the complaint was the Tories had no agenda. Or at least not one they were prepared to share with the electorate – in the event of David Cameron becoming Prime Minister.
Wait for our manifesto, they said. History has proven this to be a cruel joke on voters. There was no mention of the three sweeping policy changes Cameron has instigated since coming to power – trebling university tuition fees, raising VAT to 20 per cent, and wholesale re-organisation of the National Health Service in England.
Needless to say this triple-whammy was absent also from the manifesto of coalition partners, the LibDems. Where promises were made, they were broken by both parties.
Trust in politicians was already at rock-bottom in the wake of the expenses scandal which is now seeing some MPs jailed. By rendering election manifestos meaningless, Cameron has no mandate from the people.
Where caution might have been expected he is taking a massive gamble with the pace and scale of change. Nowhere is this more evident than with the overhaul of the NHS, which takes the future of English health care out of the hands of primary care trusts and transfers it to GPs.
This is uncharted territory. We stopped boasting we had the finest health service in the world a long time ago. But for the most part our hospitals and GPs continue to be held in high esteem. That the system was creaking has been obvious for years – a situation recognised by the last government.
I doubt if patients will care, for example, if more health services are privatised as long as standards improve
But if Cameron and his health secretary Andrew Lansley get it wrong and the whole plan ends in a shambles, they will appear to have put ideology before the good of the country. The Tories can expect to be slaughtered at the ballot box next time round and probably for a generation to come.

1 comment:

  1. GC. There will be priorities. Not every patient will be first on the list and the public will care as more and more areas of the health services become fee paying as the private companies and doctor led groups find themselves having to charge for more and more "non-essential" services as they find themselves going over budget. Cameron has said that it will give choice but that so called choice will come at a price. Letting in the private sector by the back door will mean charging the patient eventually. Jaffa.

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What do you think? GC