We Need to Talk about the NHS
(For those that get the image; you know)
Before the success of UKIP, immigration and Britain’s exit from the EU was a taboo topic of conversation. Anyone that criticised uncontrolled immigration was instantly branded a racist and outlawed from debate, and anyone that even dared to mention that the UK would be better off outside the EU would have been labelled a ‘loony’ or a ‘fruitcake’.
UKIP changed all that. The party moved the debate onto these topics (topics that we, as a nation, are probably sick and tired of hearing about) and flourished for it. Finally, there was a movement that was not scared of talking about these issues that resonated with the ordinary person. They took the media onslaught in their stride and went on to garner almost 4 million votes in the 2015 General Election and also became the first small party to win a UK European Election; the ‘political earthquake’ their leader had always been talking about.
Now there is a new taboo; the NHS. The ‘sacred cow’ status that much of the mainstream attaches to this topic makes criticising the organisation in any way, shape, or form an out of bounds conversation. Pointing out its inefficiencies and unsustainability is extremely difficult to do without everyone plugging their fingers in their ears and shouting “this is the best system in the world”.
It’s not. It’s definitely not. And I’m willing to state the facts: The NHS consistently features in the bottom third of league tables, putting it on par with the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The only anomaly is the Commonwealth Fund Study, but even in the sole category that does relate to outcomes the NHS comes 10th out of 11 foreign health services. In a report by the OECD in efficiency rankings, the NHS once again came in the bottom third. This is simply not good enough for a country that takes a seat at the G20.
These are the real, cold, hard statistics, and we need to make sure these do not only remain numbers on a piece of paper to be overlooked and ignored. The real life results of these figures truly devastate entire families. Between 2014 and 2016, there were 7 avoidable infant deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, warranting an investigation by the health secretary. The Care Quality Commission’s Chief has damned the NHS’ standards of maternity care “truly shocking”, to the point where a common anecdote amongst ordinary people is how a loved one was put on a waiting list to give birth. This is the same NHS that brought us the Mid-Staffordshire crisis where thousands of people lost loved ones to shocking conditions of care.
The ignorance of the NHS cheerleaders (mostly found in the ranks of the left) is sickening. They are more interested in peddling and forcing their socialist agenda where it simply does not work, and they are willing to stifle debate and sacrifice lives in order to do so.
We need a new political force that, like UKIP, is willing to take on the brunt of the media and wake people up. It needs to say things that people perhaps don’t want to, but need to hear. The more people that realise that their health system is far from perfect the more they will demand change. Only then will the NHS finally lose its ‘sacred cow’ status.
I’m not saying I have the solutions, I simply believe that if you truly wish to rush to the defence of patients that are receiving sub-standard care, families that are losing loved ones to avoidable causes, and nurses and doctors that are being overworked and underpaid, then you need to expose it for the inefficient, heartless organisation it is. We need an honest and mature debate about private and insurance based systems as seen elsewhere on the continent that actually work. We cannot go on throwing more money at this problem and hoping that it will go away, because it won’t.