Last update 28th. May 2004
Date: 28 May 2004 19:30
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I should start by clarifying that the address of "dukem" is listed as being the correct address for Paul Beresford, who is the Member of Parliament for the constituency in which I live, - I presume that information is correct.
As the two constituency MP's most directly related to the Surrey & Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust from whose PPI Forum I recently resigned, I feel it is appropriate to put this issue to both Messrs Beresford and Soames. As the Minister of Health, I naturally include John Reid.
With a view to getting something done, I shall be sending hard copy to the Prime Minister as, for some inane reason, Downing Street does not reply to emails, except when they are stuffed inside an envelope and delivered to the door. I have also copied this to various parties above whom I should like to introduce briefly:
Helyn Clack is my Surrey County Counsellor and it is that body that has the scrutineering powers over my local NHS Trust. I rely on Helyn to copy this to the scrutineering committee.
Emma Wicks is the current chair of the PPIF for the Trust referred to above. Nick Green is also a PPIF member and manages the web site at www.ppif.org.uk.
Sylvia Denton, Dave Prentis, Peter Morris, Carol Black and Graeme Catto represent some of the major professional organisations (unions) representing various parts of the healthcare community working in the NHS, respectively the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians and the General Medical Council.
Caroline Lucas is one of the eleven MEPs representing my part of the world, although who represents any particular constituency - heaven alone knows but it was certainly beyond my wit to find that information. I rely on Caroline to distribute as appropriate - if indeed MEPs are appropriate to this issue, one certainly hopes so as we all have to rely on the NHS in an emergency.
Now that introductions are over with let me get down to the important issue I am addressing to you. I will apologise in advance that the document I am going to cite is linked to the web site of the Centre for Policy Studies. Whilst some of the recipients might empathise with an organisation that owes its foundation to M/S Thatcher and Joseph, it sends a shudder down the spine of most of us. However, the document itself I can find no fault with except that I find it's final recommendations weak, over-optimistic and fatally flawed. It is however, an incredibly well researched, well written and easily digested report - even though it's contents spell fear and despair.
It is a long document and I laughed out load on numerous occasions - but always enjoined with despair and embarrassment, like laughing at "Yes Minister" or "The Office". On many occasions I cried. I cried for all those who at their weakest and most vulnerable moments were treated with callous disregard, disrespect and blatant negligence by those who profess everything from caring to professionalism but in the end just take the money and shrug their shoulders. I cried for those the author refers to when she says that "[the NHS] still commands such loyalty and affection that people believe in its mystique even as they die on some waiting list."
The document is entitled "Managing not to Manage: Management in the NHS" and is available at http://www.cps.org.uk/harrietnhs.pdf . I dare say some of you have heard of it. Maybe one or two have actually read it. This document factually represents every experience I have had of the NHS at every level and in respect of relatives, colleagues, employees and friends. The purpose of me writing to you all is to urge each of you to read it, to put aside time to digesting it's one hundred pages. For those of you who are parliamentary representatives of the people of this country I actually require you to confirm to me that you have personally read it.
The NHS is killing more people annually than Al Qaida and yet their single act was apparently sufficient to declare a global war and tear up every civil liberty and human right established over the last few hundred years. In fact the NHS is killing more people in a single year than all the terrorist groups in the world put together have done in their entire existence. It is killing more people, Tony, than you and that lunatic on the other side have killed in Iraq during the same period - "combatants" and "Non-combatants" combined. Whilst this genocide in the NHS is taking place, the population of this country, as so aptly put by the author, continue their blind "loyalty and affection" and no politician dare mouth the word "privatisation". How ironic. The policy group established by the very people who gave privatisation a foul name are the ones to publish a document that cries out for privatisation of the one thing that they, in government, were too terrified to suggest as a candidate for privatisation. How shallow our representatives are when faced with a choice between clinging to personal power and "doing the right thing". Let me tell you what people will vote for. Not me, I wouldn't vote for any of you, after all, I made two mistakes in my life. Firstly I voted for freedom of movement across Europe. I won. 25 years later I'm still waiting for that freedom. Then I voted for Margaret because she was a woman, because the things she was saying at that time made sense and I felt it was worth trying. I won again. Then I decided either I wasn't to be trusted with a vote or all politicians fail the people they are privileged and entrusted to represent. Let's say the jury is still out on that one but I digress. You will win votes when you deliver a service that treats people like human beings, with respect and care; when patients (customers) are given real choice and first-class professional services instead of being treated like ingrates in the workhouse; when the health and well-being of the patients is the top priority of the healthcare providers. The NHS is not a going concern and all of you know full well that there is nothing in the pipeline today that will change that. There is nothing that can be done to change it. Whilst politicians throw money and initiatives at the problem people will continue to die. You must privatise the entire service delivery end of the process, it is the only way. Without competition, real competition where I have a choice of six hospitals on the block - like a choice of good hotels - you will never change the practices or the attitudes of the staff. You (the politicians) know that and you have to start being honest about it.
As I say, I do require each of the political representatives addressed here to confirm to me that this document has been read by them. You may resent that but absence of such confirmation will only be construed in the negative and I would then expend my considerable energies in ensuring that the people of this country understand that the people most directly concerned with their health and well being don't care to read a simple report on the most dangerous killing machine in the world - our health service. Whatever you think of me, you really don't need that - especially with elections around the corner. I have not copied the media on this email at this time and now I'd like to move away from all talk of threat and make a plea to your "inner voices" [sic] to that part of yourself that most times we ignore until we find ourselves suffering the consequences. Please, all of you, set aside your prejudices, read the report and then do something about it. I don't care if you lie to get re-elected....and then privatise it, just do it! Save the people of this country.
cc The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA