Random ideas for ELT people, plus guest blogs & travel notes

Part of the magnificent tribute to the National Health Service that was part of the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games

With apologies to visitors to this blog who expect education-related material, and especially to those of you (the majority in fact) who don’t live in the UK, I’m going to devote the next few posts to the terrible destruction of the UK’s National Health Service which is taking place at the moment. 

These cost-cutting changes started under the last Labour government, so they must take equal responsibility with the Conservatives who are currently extending them dramatically and dangerously.

Cameron and ex-Health Secretary Lansley in a typical staged all-smiling photo opportunity in a hospital in Salford, the city where I was born.

This  photo of Prime Minister David Cameron and (now ex-)Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is part of the smokescreen concealing very radical changes to the NHS, particularly A&E (Accident and Emergency Services), which will affect everyone living in the UK.

Astonishingly, the only national newspaper which is putting this process under intense scrutiny is the Mail on Sunday and their investigative reporter David Rose. He has another worrying article in today’s paper, September 16th.

If you can’t bring yourself to part money for a Mail title or if you don’t live in the UK, you can read online his July article which kicked off the investigation. http://bit.ly/Qi6kPu

It starts like this:

A massive – and until now unreported – programme of closures of accident and emergency departments will leave millions forced to use so-called ‘urgent care centres’ that in reality cannot provide urgent care, a Mail on Sunday investigation has found.

The centres are allowed to handle only the simplest injuries and mild illnesses. An NHS document obtained by this newspaper reveals they are legally forbidden from treating a vast array of serious and life-threatening conditions, including shock, internal bleeding, most types of broken bones, breathing difficulties, stab or gunshot wounds, heart attacks, strokes and head injuries.

I appreciate that the National Health Service is a puzzling notion to many people living in other countries, but it is a vital lifeline to the most vulnerable members of our society. Costs have to be cut, but the current recommendations will mean the death of one of the NHS’s main services, and possibly literally the death of patients for whom the nearest A&E unit will be simply too far away.

Comments on: "The National Health Service is under threat – again" (5)

  1. RodicaTabacu said:

    The National Health Service was destroyed in many European countries not only in Great Britain.The same happened in Romania(you’ve been in Romania for many conferences }You probably found out more things about all the changes that took places here.Our governments don’t care about the people’s lives.The same things you are writing about happened in Romania not long ago. It is outrageous,but this is the European policy.

    • Hi Rodica,

      yes, you’re right that governments in many countries, in Europe and beyond, are looking to cut expenditure, and services to the weak and vulnerable seem to be the first to go. But one of the reasons I want to publicise this is that there is serious deception at work. And I also think that finally enough people in the UK think that this has gone too far.

  2. Evandro Gueiros said:

    Thank you for sharing this Ken. While the British NHS cut costs and closes A&E, our Brazilian NHS has been greatly affected by corruption and mismanagement for decades now, despite the huge amounts of money available and invested.

  3. Well said Ken. The government is preparing to destroy the welfare system and complete Thatcher’s ultra-liberal agenda. In fact they are scrambling to do it : they want to ensure, before they get booted out of power, that the changes they are making will be irreversible.

    To further these goals, there is currently a well-funded campaign in the press to demonize benefit receivers, to blame the poor and the disabled for the crisis, to portray the National Health Service as inefficient, riddled with benefit scroungers, wasteful. And many naive peoiple are relaying this propaganda, without realising that in a couple of years time, they are going to be the losers.

    Although there are a few benefit cheats, there is nowhere near the amount of cheating that is constantly being trumpeted in the Murdoch press and scandal sheets like the Mail. Benefit fraud is not even a fraction of the amounts the country has had to pay for white collar crime, political bribery, expenses frauds, banking fraud, etc.

    It’s in the interest of a number of corporations and their political lobbyists to demonstrate that the welfare system doesnt work and should be privatised. It’s also in their interests to create a smoke screen to make people forget what they’ve been getting up to behind the scenes.

    Of course any efficient system must tackle benefit scroungers, but people need to be aware behind such campaigns there are commercial interests with their beady eyes trained on the benefit bonanza and liberal agendas bent on privatising the entire public sphere.

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