There's a lot in the news this week to wrap your head around, and my head is not that malleable. The situation in Syria has got worse, Greece has been saved from a 'nightmare situation' and is now only in a 'realise you're naked at school dream' situation, which is far from ideal. Iran's recent nuclear developments now mean everyone's harping on about another 'Cold War', which was only called a 'Cold War' because no one actually fought and nothing really happened, so terrifying stuff really. The Tesco Corporation nearly hired unemployed people to work for them for free, adding a sinister tone to their slogan of 'every little helps.' Oh and Adele wasn't allowed to finish her speech at the Brits. If you don't know Adele, then let's face it, you've been living somewhere with taste. If you really don't though, then imagine someone who's managed to find the exact style of music that is so inoffensive that it registers perfectly with people all around the world who enjoy feeling no emotion whatsoever. Imagine that same person who's sold more albums than I've had hot dinners - I'm self employed and currently living off bags of crisps my girlfriend won in a competition - being opposed to paying tax in the country she lives in and when she talks its as though all the cast of Eastenders have been asked to parody themselves in unison. So y'know, this woman who's adept at chasing pavements - a job that seems ideal for any coach potato athelete - not being able to finish her second speech of the evening at the most dull music awards show of the year is clearly headline news above journalists being killed in a dictator led country or an entire nation going bankrupt.
In amongst all this exciting, depressing and uninteresting stuff the UK has still been under the thrall of the possible destruction of our national health service. Yes, I'm going to go on about it again. 'Why?' you ask. Well, partly because I think its one of the most important British institutions that we have alongside queueing and English Breakfast tea. I mean we all get ill don't we? Some people are permanently ill - an old housemate of mine spent day after day jumping from ailment to the other, his immune system decreasing with each additional blow. I can only assume he is now in a quarantined chamber surrounded by cling film with people in boiler suits hitting an emergency button whenever he sneezes. Others don't get ill much at all. But it happens to everyone at some point and if it doesn't happen to you, please hand yourself into science now or become a superhero. People get ill. People also have babies, break bones, have disabilities or just binge drink so much they throw up their own insides until comatose. The fact is, while we all pretend to be Bear Grylls or another furry mammal doing cooking, its pretty hard to survive this all on our lonesome and the NHS is there is to save our lives. Us, the 99% who can't afford private healthcare, and more importantly, pay our taxes towards not having to have private healthcare.
I, being an insulin dependant diabetic, have my own selfish reasons for watching this NHS Reform with an eagle eye. Not literally an eagle's eye, that'd be creepy and not the sort of surgery you can get on the NHS. I currently have a diabetic insulin pump that the NHS pays for and I, on my crisp eating nothing of a salary, wouldn't be able to afford otherwise making my life a whole lot more injection filled and difficult. To be honest, I like being part bionic man and even if its the sort that just has to balance the sugar in his system rather than leap from tall buildings, I'm still a fan. The NHS has always done wonders for me, and I'll praise it every step of the way, even if my local hospital The Whittington is in my phone as 'The Shittington'. So this week's Labour defeat at attempting to get the government to release the NHS Risk Register which would highlight exactly what the cons might be of Lansley's Doomesday book. But of course, the government managed to slither away from such a call, throwing blame at Burnham for not releasing an NHS risk register back in 2009. If I was to invent a Conservative drinking game I think the first rule would be to take a shot every time they blame the old Labour government for something they are now making worse. Don't get me wrong, Labour screwed up more stuff than an eager DIY expert - spending a £7bn on an IT system that was never implemented etc etc - but that's no excuse for the government to just keep making things worse. Its a get out of jail card excuse that expired many moons ago.
Lansley has said that government MP's are 'international leaders in openness and transparency' which could be translated as being easy and great at tracing things. But if you take him seriously, and its hard when his hair looks like its been superimposed onto a toad's face, then why oh why won't they just release the risk register? If there was nothing to hide then they should happily flaunt it everywhere. Post it online, tweet it 140 characters at a time and it out to people on busy streets while dressed as a hyperdermic needle. Instead its kept hidden from public view which only arouses more suspicion as to the horrors it contains. Remember when the USA hid all the Roswell files of the supposed alien crash landing in 1947, only for years later a huge UFO invasion that was only evaded by the heroic efforts of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum? Ok, so maybe that was a film, but its basically the same thing.
Cameron keeps bleeting on how well the NHS is working under his government, yet is insisting on a top down reshuffling of the system. If it ain't broke, then why are the government insistent on fixing it? It feels very much like a parliamentary version of the Get Carter remake which was more pointless than a ball. A large ball. Patient satisfaction with the NHS is higher than ever, we spend less on our health system than most other countries in Europe and if anything, the private sector gets 25% of its revenue from the NHS, meaning its dependant on public funding. So yes, tax payers money has been used to fund the private healthcare sector since the 1980s. Anyone got a bucket? I think the Daily Mail is about to vomit on itself. (Btw all these titbits of info are written more eloquently and backed more fully by Ian Greener on his blog, replete with links)
But Lansley is sure it's for the best. As is Cameron and now Nick Clegg, who's backing, as we all know, is as reliable as professional boxers being able to keep fights within the ring. And we'll never know what the risks are as the register containing such jewels of information is shredded somewhere in Lansley's office, and all those who oppose are either disciplined for telling the PM what they think in the hospital they work in or not invited to take part in discussions about the future of the profession they are so involved in. Suddenly I have a small amount of sympathy for Adele being silenced. Not much. Just a bit. I just hope I'll still be part bionic in a few years rather than having to eke out those last few crisps a couple at a time to gain the right blood sugar balance.
There is a rally in London on 7 March to Save the NHS. If you can't make it, then why not pledge your support online here: