Catch me someone, I think I’m falling from my chair! GB [Gordon Brown] uttered the word ‘England’ four times today in his 5,800-word speech on his proposals for improved preventive health screening in the English NHS! Did I read and hear correctly? You could be forgiven for missing those references; almost succeeded in burying that English wood amid those British trees!
But I suppose, eventually, if you want to use statistics to back up your statements and you’re setting out specific proposals, even GB has to state what those commitments actually relate to:
“15 million people in England with a chronic or long-term disease” (mentioned twice) [15 million! F*** me, what an unhealthy nation we’ve turned into – must be the stress of living under these intolerable discriminatory conditions!]
“Over time everyone in England will have access to the right preventative health check-up” [‘over time’ – nice politician’s cop-out phrase – how long is that piece of string?]
“we will continue to open up acute care with, from the spring, the choice of hospitals trusts across private and public sectors in England extending to over 300” [that’s not a new measure, it’s just an ongoing development].
The entire remainder of the speech simply carries on as if there were just one national British NHS, and one nationwide set of policies and strategic objectives for the NHS, which is completely fallacious. [12 references to ‘Britain’ or ‘British’, for instance, including such woolly and deceitful phrases as ‘the British NHS’ and ‘the very best care is offered to all British people, based on the need they have not the money they have’.]
As we know from the media controversy and statements from health professionals last week, there are now four national NHS’s in the UK, with strategy and funding priorities on the services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland being driven by those countries’ devolved administrations. The consequence is that very different levels of care are offered to people depending on the nation they live in, rather than their financial and practical need.
So long as the Scottish PM for England and Britain continues to talk about the NHS in England as if it were the British NHS, we can be sure that his priorities for the health service will be based around his pan-British agenda of redistributing resources away from ‘wealthy England’ rather than fairness for the less well-off and chronically sick English people.