Thursday, 28 November 2019

The NHS is not safe under Boris Johnson

Normally on Thursday, we do local news. Today I am writing a personal blog, because I believe that this is the most important issue facing every single person in the UK. The NHS is in the news. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is claiming that the NHS is safe under him. I cannot possibly stand by and not comment. There are three reasons why this is clearly not the case. Let me put my cards on the table. Since 2011, I've been under the care of the NHS for Prostate cancer. My treatment to date has cost approximately £50,000. Tomorrow this figure will go up again. The London Vaccination clinic, which I use to get vaccinations when I travel to India for business charges £200 for a PSA test.

I have several of these a year. I also have an MRI (approx £750) every year and have had four biopsies. The figure I found for a Prostate Biopsy was in the US and stated that the national average is around $2,600.  I also had Prostate Hifu treatment. The cost of this appears to be around $25,000 in the USA. Then there are countless GP visits etc. The cost of a private visit is around £60 a pop. Then there is the consultant visits at around £250 a pop.

As someone living with cancer, I am uninsurable. So the bulk of this would have come out of my pocket. Could your household budget take a £50,000 hit? I know mine would struggle and I am reasonably well off. I'd certainly have made different decisions, which may well have been life changing. Having a life threatening disease focuses the mind.

But how can I possibly state that all of this would change if Boris gets re-elected. There are three reasons.

1. The record of the Tories. My cancer journey started shortly after David Cameron got the keys to number 10. Since then, I've spent many hours in doctors surgeries, clinics and hospitals. Between the creation of the NHS in 1948 and 2010, the NHS budget was increased by approx 4% per annum every year, regardless of whether the Tories or Labour were in charge. This ground to a halt under Cameron. What has been the effect? There is now a crisis in nursing and when I went to get my blood test appointment earlier in the week, people were being told that there were no appointments for weeks at the Millway clinic. Then there is the PSA test. In 2011, when this detected my Prostate Cancer, it was a standard part of the NHS well man screening. That is what caught my cancer early and meant that in 2015, when it started to become aggressive, I was able to have treatment before it developed. That saved my life, but it was removed as it wasn't deemed value for money. Tell my kids that. I think it was the best £200 I ever spent. But the Tories have starved the NHS of money and people are dying as a result.

2. Boris's plans for Brexit. Boris and Donald Trump have talked about a trade deal. Jeremy Corbyn yesterday publicised the plans. The UK does not have a strong hand here. There is no secret at all that the US hates the NHS. My sister lives in the USA, she is a nurse and her husband is a doctor. They both understand how both systems work. There is no doubt at all that the US corporations want a piece of the NHS. I know this because the corporation of which my Brother in Law was an executive has had talks with Tories about making the NHS "more efficient". The US private medical corporations see the NHS as ripe for carving up and the US pharmaceutical companies see the NHS as a huge block to their income streams. There is absolutely no way that Donald Trump will sign a deal that protects the NHS and there is no way that Boris will be in a position to turn Donald Trump down, even if he wanted to. Donald Trump was elected on an "America First" platform. He will not be doing any foreign powers favours, especially when they are economically vulnerable.

3. The Conservatives are not telling the truth.  Watch this clip with health secretary Matt Hancock. I don't believe anyone who has seen this can possibly trust him.

Can you trust Boris? Many have tried and many have been disappointed. I have already spoken to senior people involved with the government who told me that there is a need for more efficiency in the NHS and that they see private companies as the best way to achieve that. I believe that this is a Trojan horse. Free market, right wing Conservatives believe the NHS to be an anathema. I don't doubt that they would enact some sort of safety net for the poorest, whatever their plans, but the truth is that when you remove the concept of Universal coverage, those like me, who have chronic illnesses will be exposed. Whilst some may say that I should be means tested and it is only fair that if I have to sell my house to pay for my medical bills, as it isn't their problem, I disagree. I think a civilised, welathy society can afford universal health care and that is a basic human right.

Make no mistake, Brexit will be a game changer for the NHS. In a years time, Boris will be perfectly comfortable taking us out of the EU with no deal and into a hastily cobbled together deal with Donald Trump. I've spent many months in the USA in my life. When you watch the coverage of politics on channels such as Fox News, they talk about the NHS as if it is a killing machine run by the gestapo. On many occasions I've been shocked at the sheer untruth of their claims.

Sooner or later everyone needs the NHS. I was I guess lucky in that my Mum was born in 1925 and she took the trouble to tell us what healthcare was like before the NHS. One thing that always stuck in my mind was her story of how my Grandmothers 18th birthday present was to have all her teeth removed at the dentist. I was bemused. My mother explained that this spared her a lifetime of dental bills. Dentures were cheaper.  Sadly such knowledge is dying with her generation.

I implore everyone to vote for the candidate that has the best chance of stopping this. My own personal view is that in Finchley and Golders Green and Hendon, there is absolutely no chance of a Labour victory. They lost in 2010 and in 2015, when there were no issues with anti semitism. I sincerely believe that they will come second if the opposition unites around them. There are many sane, rational Conservative voters who do not want to see the NHS wrecked. I believe that if they believe that the Lib Dems can win, they may well cast their votes for them in this election. I know that for many readers, this is not something they want to hear. The only way to save the UK and the NHS is to prevent Boris having a majority. I believe that we all have a civic responsibility to work as hard as we can to ensure that Boris does not achieve this.

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