I have been an immigrant to three countries, including the UK. And nowhere but here have I experienced such nonsense around health care. I wrote last year on the death throes of the NHS, and nothing has happened since to make me change my mind.
So many myths surround the NHS. Contrary to propaganda parroted by the BBC and health unions, it is not the envy of the world. If this were true, our form of socialised medicine would have been emulated everywhere else. But is has not. Neither is it free – those who pay tax will attest to that.
Privatisation is not a dirty word either. Nobody wants the US system where families can lose their livelihood due to serious illness. But the most successful health systems combine both government and privatised health care – a two-tiered structure which I have previously advocated. However this seems like an unreachable dream, given the screeching of the Left and post-liberal Puritans whenever an iota of common sense is offered on restructuring the NHS.
The Left accuse the Conservative Party of actively starving the NHS of funds, but all this achieves is to make them sound foolish. The government allocates 29.9 per cent of its public service spend (close to a third) on health. Spending on the NHS in real terms has increased from £12.8billion in 1955-56 to £143.7billion in 2015-16. These figures show how the government has protected the NHS from large cuts even though the annual budget desperately needs trimming. The Left forget that the UK is heavily in debt thanks to Labour’s spending spree the last time they were in power.
But no matter how much money the government throws at the NHS the same problems will persist because it is the symptoms that are being treated, not the causes. Every winter there is a health care crisis of some sort. It is indeed ridiculous that in a developed and prosperous country such as the UK there are people dying on hospital trolleys in dark corridors. But this is more indicative of the shambolic mismanagement which afflicts the NHS than lack of funds. The NHS must have the most incompetent managers in the world if it sees fit to send hundred of its doctors and consultants on a ski jolly at this time of the year.
If these useless managers were paid less, there might be more money available to employ more nurses so that such crises as the current winter flu epidemic are averted. But too many NHS gatekeepers want to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayer, and deflect attention from their greedy behaviour by screaming about ‘evil Tories’ and ‘the cuts’.
If the government had any backbone it would repeal the idiotic scheme dreamt up by the Labour Party and the British Medical Association under which consultants may refuse to work outside the hours of between 7pm – 7am unless they are paid huge overtime fees. Some receive more than £100,000 a year in overtime.
It should also annul the Labour policy which led to GPs being paid more to do less work. This breathtaking act of stupidity has undoubtedly put immense pressure on A&E departments. These irrational decisions are no way to run a government health organisation. Until we can have a calm and rational debate on the NHS, all this will continue and so will a deformed consequence of socialised medicine – the culture of entitled health dependency.
A perfect example of this is that almost 43,000 dental operations were performed in England to extract children’s teeth in 2016-17. Despite the BBC’s best efforts to blame the government, the fault lies solely with parents who give their children the sweets and sugary drinks that rot teeth. The concept of self-care and responsibility becomes irrelevant if the NHS is always unquestionably there to heal unnecessary and self-inflicted damage, at great cost to the taxpayer.
But the definitive and most pressing reason for the disintegration of the NHS is a simple economic equation of supply and demand. Britain is facing an over-population crisis caused by uncontrolled immigration, and we need to be honest about its effect on the NHS. Since the service’s launch in 1948, the UK population has grown by 14.2million. It is forecast to continue increasing by 400,000 a year, resulting in a population of 70million by 2026.
Immigration and births to foreign-born parents account for 85 per cent of population growth since 2000. Net migration into the UK is still too high – in June 2017 it was 230,000. No wonder the NHS is over-utilised and failing. Over-population is straining our resources. The repercussions of uncontrolled immigration on the NHS are blatantly obvious to anyone who can’t get a GP appointment or has had yet another operation cancelled.
Immigration is a positive force for society. But uncontrolled and unmanaged immigration is destructive – it lowers living standards, hampers economic progress and puts pressure on social services.
I have written before on how important it is not to muddle the definitions of economic migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Otherwise immigration debate sinks into a vicious quagmire of hateful rhetoric. The percentage of real refugees and asylum seekers is minuscule in comparison with the thousands of EU, illegal and economic migrants who use our NHS despite never having paid a penny into the UK tax system. This is grossly unfair on those who are born here and on hard-working immigrants who contribute so much.
Britain is an island. It will not miraculously expand in size to accommodate this population explosion. Why is it so difficult for our government to get a grip on uncontrolled immigration? Countries such as Canada and Australia honour the social contract between state and citizen by enforcing strict immigration policies. Perhaps the Tories are terrified of being labelled racist if they prioritise health care for the elderly, who have paid tax for decades, instead of pandering to deceitful health tourists.
I suspect they are scared of being hounded by a Twitter mob if they implement strict border policies. By refusing to admit the main reason why the NHS has ground to a halt the government displays a noxious combination of obtuseness and cowardice. Compassion is shown not only through sympathetic discourse but via courageous action. Until our government takes the necessary steps to control immigration and mend the various ills afflicting the NHS, our sick and dying will continue to be held hostage by a decaying behemoth devoid of any humanity.