When talking about the health service, it is often more prudent to use the language of theology rather than policy. Phrases such as "hands off our NHS" and "the NHS saved my life" are common place and demonstrate the reverence the British people have for it, and the personal ownership many of us feel we have over it. Nigel Lawson's adage that it is the closest thing we have to a national religion still rings true.
Taking control of Manchester's health budget will not be easy. Funding will be a big headache - as the region faces a £2billion black hole in the finances over the next five years. Finding the necessary efficiency savings will be no mean feat given that many of the easy savings have already been made over recent years.
Often, at times of crisis, a decision is made to put an old person into a care home. But at a time when the NHS faces mismatch between resources and demand, we must look further afield for a solution to cure Britain's current care crisis - perhaps technology is what will allow us to do more with less.
Since being appointed as a shadow health minister in September I have been keen to spend some time on the front line to see what life is really like for hard-pressed NHS staff. So I recently spent a night shadowing an emergency medicine consultant at the Countess of Chester hospital... Until you are actually there it is difficult to comprehend just how relentless the job is. Staff were working at full tilt and the nature of the work was such that they could never catch up with the demand - even when 'it's not that bad for a Saturday night'.
In an increasingly capitalist world it is easy to give in to temptation, however, that is neither the ethos nor the mandate of a socialist NHS. Before forcing through change let us talk yet perhaps more importantly; let us listen. Only then we can devise a strategy on how to deliver the future, together.
At the minute many NHS staff are compromising their own health so they can provide basic patient care. Your workforce is exhausted and demoralised, and being told to make £22billion of efficiency savings in a setting already pared to the bone. I see these staff as my patients. When the stress gets too much, they come to me. Usually exhausted, often in tears. I feel like shaking you Mr Cameron. You absolute hypocrite. How dare you?
To a Brit, it is a truly frightening and confusing and bank account-draining system. We got our daughter to the nearest emergency medical centre in our arms, and the staff immediately asked us to complete two long forms for the insurance company, and for a swipe of our credit card (you'll notice this is a recurring theme) before they even inquired what was wrong with our little girl or showed any signs of compassion whatsoever. It makes you angry to witness. Money is absolutely the priority in any medical scenario here. The average cost of an ambulance ride in LA for instance is $1,200 (£800).
Although free at the point of delivery, the NHS is not a 'free for all' and though treatment is not rationed, it must be rational. Having spent 15 years in the same job, at the sharp end of the NHS, I have seen fancy ideas and initiatives change policy and procedure, trying to trim the cost of the service...
Only 3% of women in the UK are totally happy with their bodies...that is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY...even the slim people are bloody unhappy with their bodies...don't you get it? slimness shouldn't be the goal...happiness should be regardless of what size you are. I argue that being unhappy is THE most unhealthiest way to be.