16 April 2011

Before and after the NHS

It's strange how history repeats itself. Life is short. It takes time to learn. Teenagers always know better than their parents. Sometimes you have to allow your children to make mistakes for themselves. It happens to whole generations. New generations make the mistakes of the generations before. Wars fought years ago seem futile and meaningless while today's wars seem essential and unavoidable. The same mistakes are repeated. That's how the world is. It is only when you are as old as Dr Grumble that you realise that older people have the advantage of experience. By then it is too late.

Before the NHS there was a patchwork – a ragged sprawl of private, charity , voluntary and council-run hospitals. Doctors saw the creation of the NHS as a socialist conspiracy, a power grab. The doctors organised an offensive against the government.

The national health service changed the country. Patients no longer feared the humiliation of being unable to pay for treatment. According to Marr, no government of any stripe has dared try and take it away from us ever since. Unfortunately he is wrong. Recent governments have all been trying to take the NHS away from us but they have gone to great lengths to conceal their true intent. Not all of us are taken in by the party posters.

Doctors see the Lansley dissolution of the NHS as a neoliberal conspiracy, a power grab. Doctors will organise an offensive against the government. After the NHS we will be left with a patchwork - a ragged sprawl of private, charity, foundation and partnership-run hospitals.

Do you see how history repeats itself? We go on fighting wars that will be seen to be futile in the future and we go on destroying the things that matter most to us.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

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