Monday, 4 May 2015

I am number 922!

No, I'm not in gaol! That's the number of the certificate given to me by local 38 Degrees members at last Friday's hustings to show that I've received the NHS petition. It's an odd feeling - I'm more used to being an activist for change than one of those being lobbied!

Of course I welcome the petition which asks me to defend the NHS, resist privatisation and provide sufficient funding - all of which is both my personal commitment and the policy of my party.

Our priority in the new parliament should be to reverse the current privatisation and restore the duty of the Secretary of State to provide a universal NHS. You know, like we used to have.

But then there are major challenges for the NHS:
  • We should give mental health parity with physical health.
  • We should integrate social and medical care
  • We should ensure that treatment is as good at weekends as on weekdays.
In the long run (and this got applause at the hustings) we need to address the causes of ill health which include poor diet, lack of exercise, economic inequality and excessive consumption of alcohol.

I'd like to believe that good policies on food, housing transport, tax, air quality, etc., would reduce the need for spending on treating disease. But I don't. I think they will reduce the need to increase that spending. The growth is driven by our longer lives and the ingenuity of doctors and scientists in devising new treatments - which in turn extend our lives.

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