Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The NHS No Longer Exists...

because it's no longer all 'free' at the point of use.
Waiting in my doctor's reception room this morning, I noticed that those who wish to take the advices of NHS Direct must call a local rate non-geographical (0845) telephone number.
This means, of course, that you pay to call it - so it is neither technically nor ideologically nor actually free.
So that's the whole rationale of the NHS buggered, then.
Someone tell Alan Johnson.

3 comments:

Neal Asher said...

Yeah, I noticed that with my doctors. I also noticed how in the last year the parking charges at our nearest hospital shot up from £1 to £2.50. Then there's the prescription charge, which is free in Wales of course. If you want something like an asthma inhaler you pay the best part of £7 for something you can buy over the pharmacy counter for £2 elsewhere in Europe.

Mountjoy said...

Labour betrayed the principles of its own 'free at the point of entry' NHS when they introduced dental and eye-test prescription charges. Nye Bevan, memorably, resigned in protest...

Martin said...

Mountjoy,

Interesting to see you should mention Nye Bevan.

The whole history of the dental and glasses prescription charges deserves to be publicly revisited, now more than ever.

The standard Thatcherite thinking is that the inefficient state could not support the expenditure involved in building the New Jerusalem, so these charges were a necessity - but that's not necessarily the case.

Another school of thought believes taht they were introduced only because of the trade-offs that had to be made as a consequence of the costs incurred in the re-armament policy the USA directed we follow as a condition of support. No re-armament, and the charges might have been unnecessary