20 February 2012


"Safe in  our hands" - that's what Cameron promised in the  run up to the last general election. He was talking about our cherished National Health Service. But of course in politico-speak, "safe in our hands" doesn't mean that. In fact it means the exact opposite. "Safe in our hands" was just a cynical ruse to win votes.

Many of our English speaking cousins around the world don't "get" the National Health Service - especially in America where they is an ugly, uncharitable school of thought that says you've got to pay for what you get and buddy if you're weak, down on your luck, desperately in need of health care you cannot afford, then tough - it's your own fault. Ironic really when you think of America's widespread "Christianity" - The Bible Belt, Billy Graham, The Tea Party and all that. It appears that their "Christianity" can at times be most un-Christian. I'm alright Jack - pull up the ladder. Did Jesus say that?

Of course, our NHS isn't free. Employed people in Britain have always paid for it in the form of National Insurance. We live in a society and I for one have never resented subsidising the health needs of the poorest and most unfortunate members of this society. Though the three musketeers may have been French, their motto was admirable - "One for all and all for one". To me and to some large degree it's what living in a society is all about.

If it wasn't for the NHS, I would be dead and so would Shirley. It was there when we needed it most - when our continuing good health was severely threatened. The NHS service we received was super-professional from beginning to end.

I know many NHS workers, from a hospital porter to a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and of course Shirley has spent her entire working life nursing within the NHS. They all say how proud they are to work for such an important institution and they all recognise that during Labour's years in office the service evolved tremendously, becoming more efficient with reduced waiting lists and improved professional practice.

Now Cameron and his Tory cronies want to smash the edifice, bringing in expensive "reforms" that they hope will lead to more privatisation - moving away from the principal NHS tenets forged after the second world war. They are not listening to the cacophony of protests from public and professional bodies alike. They don't want to listen.

Don't get me wrong. In  such a massive organisation there is never room for complacency. Improvements - often of a money-saving nature - can always be made and under Labour they were being made. But if something ain't broke don't fix it. The Tories' radical restructuring will turn primary care practitioners into accountants and as time passes ordinary people will witness deterioration in the quality of service they receive while those with money will look to private healthcare in greater numbers than ever before.

The Crown Jewels are kept in The Tower of London but the NHS is our finest national treasure. Safe in our hands? I wouldn't trust Cameron with a banana.


  1. There is no doubt that the ConDems are making a complete hash of the NHS.

    Having said that there would be no more top-down reorganisations, that is exactly what they are doing and far from removing layers of bureaucracy, they plan to replace one and add two more.

    I honestly thought that Lansley wouldn't last six months in the job, but Cameron seems to have a blind spot where he is concerned.

  2. Earl Gray
    I have experienced the NHS ( OBVIOUSLY) AND systems of health care in America

    ours is flawed... true
    but ours is fair

    nuff said

  3. I agree with every word you have written, Mr Pudding. Can you hear the cheering coming down the motorway from Leeds? You will hear it get louder in the morning as I draw nearer to you - I have to start work in Sheffield at 8am tomorrow - helping with an exam for future GPs. Hurrah for the NHS!

  4. John Key is doing the same here to our Health Service, Accident Compensation Commission, Electricity, and other State Owned Assets.
    He is also slowly but surely getting rid of the Department of Conservation (why have it when New Zealanders are so good at volunteering their time to look after the birds?).

    It's all scary. Stop the world, I want to get off.

  5. i have just come from rymsie with the plauge and saw what he called you when you commented in the same style of your present blog><<><>i for the life of me wonder how i stand living by all these conservatives who want children's health insurance paid for by their parents and if that cannot be done then to hell with the kid<><>,.our orin hatch from utah is trying to repeal the so called obama care because it is free and he can afford the premium so why should he want the insurance for every one in the nation and he says nothing should be free to the masses

  6. Conservatives are not heartless wretches or completely without compassion for the downtrodden, the hurting, and the broken. They just think that such issues are better handled by families, churches, charitable organizations, and local communities than by big government intrusion. They could, of course, be wrong.

    Your illustration prompts me to ask whether your NHS covers erectile dysfunction.

  7. Our version is called Medicare and while I'm all in favour of providing medical treatment for those who need it I think that those who can afford it should look after themselves through private medical insurance.( means testing elegibility would be a good start ).
    It infuriates me when wealthy, influential people jump the queue (when they can afford to pay for themselves) and thus increase the enormous waiting time for those who need so called non essentil surgery like hip replacements and have to wait years to get it because of the long queues.
    I have no idea how people cope in the USA if they can't afford medical treatment. It seems almost inhuman to me to refuse to treat them.

  8. RHYMES WITH... I suppose the backdrop to Mr Cameron's speech illustrates the problems he's had with his banana.
    HELEN On the BBC last week I saw a tale about an uninsured casual American construction worker who has had a hernia for years - a bulging intestine escaping from his stomach cavity but he just cannot get it fixed because of the enormous bill that would follow. The doctor who examined him said that septis was just round the corner. So pleased to hear that Aussies have Medicare - something like the NHS.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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