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...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 2577: 'Ndividual Health Service

Tuesday:


Mr Clogg has announced exciting new Health policies for the Liberal Democrats.

The aim is to enable people to take charge of their own health needs, rather than having some remote minister dictate to them what they will get.

The Health Service is a BRILLIANT thing: looking after the poorly is truly a mark of being civilised. But too often the bureaucracy put in place by the Labour leaves doctors and nurses struggling to meet Whitehall's targets instead of the needs of their patients.

It is time to put a stop to that by putting people back in change.

Key proposals begin with a Patient's Contract, that will give you a GUARANTEED maximum waiting time, and if the NHS cannot meet that time, then you will be able to go private.

People with long-term needs will be able to take control of the money that gets spent on their care, freeing them from dependence on the state and letting them make the decisions about what treatments serve them best.

And there will be a "Care Guarantee" for the elderly, backed up with two BILLION pounds of funding, for a personal care payment based on need not means testing.

There has been some comment that this guarantee is not as generous as the "Free Care for the Elderly" policy that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland implemented while they were in coalition government.

The Labour's Ivan (t to have My Cake and eat it) Lewis said:

"…frankly this amounts to a retreat and U-turn by Mr Clogg on previous Liberal Democrat policy which said that elderly people would get free care regardless of income."

Nice admission that it WAS us who got that done in Scotland, by the way.

But we have got to bite the bullet on this one. Mr Clogg had the BOTTLE to admit that it would be impossible to afford such a scheme – indeed, it has proved far more expensive in Scotland than budgeted – and it would be DISHONEST to promise something that we could not really do.

Instead we have come up with a costed and affordable proposal to tackle the tragedy of old people having to sell their homes and spend their life savings on care.

That didn't stop Mr Ivan saying:

"…the guarantee is not worth the paper it is written on."

Although, the paper it's written on is STILL worth more than the Labour's offer of, er, doing nothing.


Going further, the Liberal Democrats propose to deal with the scandal of the Labour's QUANGOCRACY, where they pick all of their UNACCOUNTABLE chums to serve on the local Primary Case Trusts. We would replace these with locally elected Health Boards.

We know from our community campaigning that nothing motivates people like a threat to their local hospital or doctors' services. So this would give people the chance to get involved and solve problems DIRECTLY through the Ballot Box.

And we would let people decide to spend more (or less!) on their local health needs, by giving them the power to add an extra slice to the level of their local income tax.

Ultimately, controlling the MONEY is what give people real POWER over outcomes, and that's why Mr Clogg has "got down to brass tax" (you might say!)

Now, you KNOW that that is going to mean different solutions, and different OUTCOMES, in different areas. But it ALSO means that people are going to have the power to CHANGE things if they don't like it.

The CRISIS of the NHS at the moment is not that it hasn't got the money or the drugs or the skills or the people. It is that everything is controlled from the MUDDLE in the MIDDLE and if they find a solution that works in one place, they IMPOSE it on everywhere else. Without thinking whether everywhere else wants or needs it.

The National Health Service was founded sixty years ago based on a LIBERAL ideal – freeing people from the burden of sickness.

Now it needs another Liberal ideal – freeing people from the burden of CENTRALISM – to see our NHS continue to flourish for another sixty years!

1 comment:

Rael said...

The US has it worse! Some Reuters report says US pays more its doctors compared to most
industrialized countries, and still has high demand for skilled health care workers, from nurses to
caregivers. Yet it lags behind in terms of results, compared to most of those first rate countries! Whats going on here?
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