The NHS has long been used as a political football. And on Thursday we saw the radical idea of a cross party agreement on co-operation for the future direction and funding sources rejected. This was despite almost universal agreement (from the health care professionals cum politicians) that joined up action is needed, and needed now.
It is easy to understand why the NHS is largely political. A vast amount of taxpayers money is waded into it year on year and it is the unenviable task of the government to ensure efficiency upon that investment. But to accept Ms Alexander's argument of an inability for politicians to come together for the long-term future, as some may be more interested in point scoring, is a damning indictment. Her alternative moot was that of continued strong single party leadership. Well this has achieved the current crisis and quite frankly the NHS transcends politics as it outlasts each party's reign.
Most of the arguments put forward agree on one thing - we need to involve the people who pay for it (public), the people who use it (public) and the people who provide it (healthcare professionals) when deciding on future direction. I strongly believe it is the duty of the current government, regardless of political persuasion, to bring this debate to the wider audience and have that difficult discussion. Be it radicalising the structure of the NHS (as proposed by Drs Lee and Murrison) or simply on how we can afford to sustain and improve it through further personal investment (widespread agreement).
One can envisage and somewhat agree with the notion that the proposed commission could stall, take away and perhaps even distract from the change that is urgently needed. Multiple independent reviews and commissions have already detailed the inadequacies and reform needed. So is another review necessary? This commission really signified something more than just an enquiry, it was a dedication from all concerned that an effort will be made to reduce the peril of political meddling within the NHS. So it is with Dr Wollaston one has to agree, a commitment from all parties that co-operation and forward planning is absolutely necessary.
All the medically qualified politicians were in agreement that social care is synonymous with health care. Ms Caulfield so aptly summed the current situation as a 'false economy'. Another key point raised with value for money was of public health and the tag line of prevention being better than cure. So it is indefensible to continue with such lavish cuts into these areas thus deepening the financial burden long term.
So we are left firmed rooted at square one. The NHS continues to be a political bargaining tool - despite the eloquent and experienced input from actual healthcare professionals. Sadly, the people who are affected because of this are also ironically the very people who fund it.