Saturday, June 14, 2008

NHS: we're dumping spite

Regular readers will know of your humble Devil's outrage over the disgusting NHS co-payments policy. Essentially, if you paid privately for drug treatments outwith your NHS programme, you were forced to pay for your NHS treatment too. It was a policy based on nothing but spite since we pay, throughout our working lives, for our NHS treatment through the Ponzi scheme known as NICs.

Now, it seems as though there may have been something of a victory on that front.
Patients who pay for “top-up” drugs will no longer be denied free NHS treatment, the Government will announce next week.

In a major reversal of policy, the Department of Health will review the present rules, which ministers regard as unfair and a penalty for people fighting life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.

It will announce an end to the “co-payments” system, in which those who buy drugs that the NHS has deemed too expensive are made to pay for the rest of their care.

Hooray! But it is a decision that is long overdue and which has already robbed people of precious extra time with their families.

As Timmy says,
Thank the Lord for that: it always was a nonsense that if you were prepared to use your own money to add to your treatment you would then be denied the treatment you had already paid for.

He is rather kinder than I am: it was not a "nonsense", it was a quite deliberate policy predicated on a pathetic and evil idea of equality. You will remember, after all, the statement from the Department of Health?
The Department of Health said: “Co-payments would risk creating a two-tier health service and be in direct contravention with the principles and values of the NHS.”

That the bureaucrats have reversed their decision is to be applauded; that no one seems to have lost their job over this callous and (yes, I will say it again) evil practice is a disgrace.

Though it is welcomed, it is a somewhat hollow victory for Colette Mills and the late Linda O'Boyle, both of whom had spent a lifetime working for the NHS and might thus have expected some mercy...


Toque said...

Just to clarify, this is the English NHS that you are talking about (we now have four national health services you know).

Gordon Brown's constituents already receive most of the so called 'top-up drugs' absolutely free, and at our expense because they pay no extra tax.

Anonymous said...

You're right.

But what to do?

A Polish Plumber suggested it was time for a bit of 'Up against the wall Motherfuckerism'

Aren't we the People that shortens divinely yet self appointed tyrants by a head?

Quo Vadis Albion?

Anonymous said...

Devil - has your blinkered loathing of the NHS obscured your grasp of the underlying motives driving the 'top-up" issue ?

You and I can at least agree that a dying cancer patient should be able to spend their hard earned cash on whatever the hell they like, without ever jeopordising entitlement to the NHS care they have already paid for.

But this story is not one of compassion, decency or redemption - no, far from it, the NuLab machine is far more interested in it's original project to end public ownership of the NHS - "top-ups" are but one small facet of this unfolding plan.

Public cash has already been poured into x33 PFI hospitals (with 76 more in the pipeline).
Each one said is to cost as much as three times more (after factoring in estimated fees, interest charges, shareholder dividends, etc) than hospitals funded through public procurement.

The systematic reduction of NHS beds (down by 13%) has been a deliberate NuLab ploy to create the sort of unstable conditions that require "market solutions" to improve matters, hence the dreadful ISTC production lines.

Polyclinics are a further blatant attempt to commercialise primary care - objections to them are easily dismissed as little more than the bloated self interest of a few whinging GPs.
Mark my words Polyclinics will be run by American corporates, but not because they offer the best quality, no, this will have far more to do with whoever can provide the lowest tender.

I doubt if Johno & Co needed much persuasion to appreciate the exciting possibilities of relieving desperate punters of £17-grand a pop for one more visit to the last chance saloon.

Yes, I'm suprised NuLab did not give more thought to "top-ups" much earlier.
Once the principle is established in the publics mind, think how much cash can be squeezed out of them - lets face it, there was not even a murmer (from most of them) once NuLab decided hospitals should cost three times more than they used to ?

Look at the likes of Hewitt - she is raking it in, now she is on the board of Boots & Cinven.
Boots (and chains like them) are still being touted as a venue for primary care services, while Cinven recently paid £1.5 billion to buy 25 hospitals from BUPA.

Simon Fawthrop said...

"Patients who pay for “top-up” drugs will no longer be denied free NHS treatment, the Government will announce next week"

One week on - has anyone seen the announcement, because I haven't.

Sureley this wasn't put out to deflect opinion when the story was hitting the headlines? Nobody could be that cynical, could they?

Anonymous said...

Hewitt is cynicism personified IMHO, although it will be interesting to see which directorships Johno lines up for himself (post cabinet).

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