THE BLOG

What It Means to #VoteNHS

07/05/2015 17:28 BST | Updated 06/05/2016 10:59 BST

When you read that I'm voting for the NHS you assume I'm voting Labour, don't you? You're right to. Even though every opposing politician is telling you they will protect the NHS, in your subconscious there's only one party for who those words ring true.

I am by no means a staunch Labour supporter; locally I always vote independently. However we're now faced with the very real possibility that we could lose our national health service and so in this election it's just too large a gamble for me to squander my vote on someone fighting against 'misguided busways'.

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Lets face it, the NHS are in crisis. No beds, long waiting times, nurses crying and doctors quitting. But as the proverbial £8bn carrot is dangled in front of you, try not to be hoodwinked by the Prime Minister and his over-use of the word 'competitiveness', and look at the facts before you trust that man and cast a vote against the NHS.

According to a report by EIU, the UK has fewer doctors, nurses, hospital beds and crucial medical equipment than most other wealthy nations. So it would seem Cameron's promise of a cash injection would be incredibly well received. That is, if it were being promised to best value NHS resources rather than overpriced, privatised muck.

Ok, maybe not muck. But as someone who has had a gynaecological exam in a portacabin on a derelict Carpetworld car park in Salford, I can tell you that private care facilities are far from those you'd imagine.

Less hospitals and more portacabins could very well be our future as 86 per cent of GPs believe the NHS will be privatised within the next ten years, according to a survey conducted by Cogora last August.

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After I'd got over my initial fear that the CareUk cabin was not a façade for me to be sex trafficked into oblivion, I still couldn't shake the uncomfortable feeling that I was perhaps being molested by a privately-appointed physician in a pre-fabricated hut on stilts. Of course I wasn't, but the surroundings didn't exactly put me at ease.

David Cameron and his Eton-entourage may employ the word 'competition' rather than privatisation, but in my eyes these shoddy, 'pound shop' pop-up surgeries fail to 'compete' with the sterile yet comfortable NHS surroundings I've taken for granted over the years.

Regardless, I'll try and take a balanced view and assume since our healthcare is reducing in quality, then it must at least be costing less...Wrong!

A position for a senior clinical fellow in the A & E of a busy London hospital is advertised on the site Jobs4Medical with a salary scale of £34,402 - £47,175. On the same site, a resident doctor in a private Manchester hospital is advertised with a salary of £47,661 up to £68,921.

Lets assume both doctors work the mandatory 80,000 hours a week (maybe not an exact figure), by these advertised salaries an A & E doctor carrying a heavier burden of responsibility and living in an area with a considerably higher cost of living, is still likely to earn 28-32 per cent less than his colleague in the private sector.

As a value for money exercise, there is only one clear winner and the NHS gets you a lot more doctor for your taxes.

I'm racking my brain for possible upsides to privatisation. Well here it is: in the short term, introducing 'competition' may get some of the less efficient areas of the NHS to pull their socks up. That appears to be it.

Regardless, the longer-term impact is much more severe.

Firstly, by adding private companies into the mix the provision of healthcare becomes more about cost rather than quality. Lets face it, why set up a business if you don't want to make a profit?

Comparatively, the NHS doesn't make a profit. Its sole purpose is to preserve life within the resources it has. Profitability doesn't come into it.

Of course there isn't some endless pot of cash, dishing out to every medic who asks for it. But profit simply does not stack up against good value! And by these calculations, under the Conservatives we're spending more and getting less.

At the moment, a routine appointment with Bupa will cost you £70 for just 15 minutes. But at the rate we're going, once our nationalised health service is catapulted into non-existence, who's to say what these costs could rise to?

We only have to look at the denationalisation of British Gas, British Telecom, British Rail. Would anyone agree they are competitively priced? They are near, if not at the very bottom of every comparison site I use.

My friend Annabel recently moved to New York from Manchester and posted this to her Facebook: "Just received my first medical bills. 2 x 1 hour routine appointments = $2000. That's what privatisation and big business do to a healthcare system and shows just what a wonderful thing the NHS is."

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Is this what we have to look forward to? Uncapped and unchallenged healthcare costs? Once the envy of the world for our most treasured asset, it's now a very real possibility that Britons will be flung unwittingly into insurance-based schemes, paying hefty excesses.

I can't imagine how it would feel not being able to get the care I need because of my financial standing at the precise moment I was taken ill.

It's very easy to get hypnotised by the amount of money David Cameron is promising the NHS; it's obvious £8bn is a lot of cash, even by Richard Branson's standards. However Cameron's false reassurance can be placed into simple perspective - private health care costs more and offers less. And that is why my red vote is to save our NHS.