In recent weeks my family has cause to be very grateful to the NHS. We both form part of the group considered by some politicians to be expensive, pensioners which the government regards as an unaffordable luxury. I find their reasoning very curious, by far the majority of pensioners are spending their money in the UK economy; income tax, council tax, food bills, rent, gas and electricity, clothes and entertainment. Most of us have no millions to put in an off-shore tax haven, our pensions go directly into paying for the goods and services in this country. Many of the older generation are also carers, caring for partners, adult children, grandchildren and volunteering in the wider community. Yes we have a free bus pass, where would the bus companies be if we stopped using the buses?
Medication and treatment for ageing bodies are free at the point of need, as they are for every citizen, as the great reformer Nye Bevan founder of the NHS said:
” Illness is neither an indulgence for which people should have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.”
But this is only part of the story. Adult Social Care must be cut back, it must feel the harsh wind of austerity; no cups of tea, no help in getting dressed, no trips to the toilet, no hot meal during the day. This frail old person who would like to leave hospital and spend what precious days are left in the familiarity of home. This cannot be, no family member is left, no neighbours have time, no carer can be paid out of the limited social services budget. So a hospital bed becomes a prison with only one release possible. and another individual goes on in pain at home.
A very few have a secret hoard of money buried deep in a dark place where no revenue man can catch a glimpse of it. It buys power, not health, not affection, not regard and not peace of mind. A society where everyone has a decent house, a good school for their children, a job and a regular income and a just legal system; is a stable, peaceful society. A society where everyone, including the super-rich, pays their taxes is a society which benefits EVERYONE. A well established health care system FREE AT THE POINT OF NEED provides sufficient health care professionals, hospital beds, continuing care at home for all those who need it. The paradox is we none of us know when that will be, it may be tomorrow or 50 years hence. Are we going to follow the USA example that health care is only for the very rich? At the moment it looks as if that is the road we are on.
I have been a teacher and a lecturer for a number of years. I am married with two sons. I'm interested drama, films, TV, books, society in general, poverty and riches and political systems.
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