Today’s Graun had a long piece in it by Ian Martin, reflecting on his 10 years as a cancer survivor. At one point he went on a bit of a rant. I don’t normally just copy and paste anything other than short quotes in this blog, but what Martin was ranting about is important. Let’s hope we stop being idiots soon:
My antigen numbers had come in, spectacularly high. But an inflexible NHS system had already decided there was no way they could bring forward the biopsy, set for three months’ time. A neat solution as by then I’d be, if not dead, unsaveable. So in July 2006, for the first and only time in my life, and following the clever advice of Barbara on reception at my GP’s surgery, I paid for a private consultation with my NHS oncologist, at the local private hospital where he worked part-time. He was then able to pick up the phone from his private consultant’s office and book me an NHS biopsy, with the public sector version of him, in two days’ time. Then at that biopsy his NHS persona acknowledged the seriousness of the situation flagged up by his private sector self and thankfully “they” immediately started me on the treatment that’s kept me alive ever since.
This blurring of who does what in the NHS – this is how the lung-shadow of privatisation has spread in the last 10 years. Lobbyists and politicians push for lucrative contracting-out for companies and their shareholders but call it improved customer service, and savings. Those of us in the #WeLoveTheNHS club are forced to circle the wagons, when it clearly needs not brittle defence but proper reform. And those of us born in the infancy of the NHS, who have paid in their whole lives for the treatment they receive, now discover they’re part of an “overspend”. Before the Tory cuts – £20bn so far and another £22bn by 2020 – the NHS was “in surplus”. Why in the name of Beveridge’s bollocks are we even talking about overspending and not underfunding? Because we’re idiots, that’s why.
It’s a long read, but worthy; the full article is here.