Time to Rise up and Defend


“At a time when the NHS has never been more popular and when there is increasing evidence of its cost-effectiveness, we are sleep-walking into its destruction”


Aneurin Beven on the day the NHS was created
A very good essay [pdf download] by by Professor John R Ashton, CBE on the plans to effectively create a two-tier health system in the UK through the Government's Health and Social Care Bill

The dismantling of the National Health Service (NHS) and of the welfare state proceeds apace. The historic settlement of 1948, born of the recession of the 1920s and 1930s and the carnage of World War 2, is being picked apart systematically by the UK’s Coalition Government...

The professor was for 13 years a Regional Director of Public Health and Regional Medical Officer, and clearly knows about a lot more than ingrown toenails


For the past 60 years the UK has had the Institutional 
Redistributive Model, which sees social welfare as a major 
integrated institution, providing universal services outside 
the market on the principle of need. As I write, we are being 
dragged into some hybrid of the Industrial Achievement 
Performance Model, which holds that social needs should 
be met on the basis of merit, work performance, and 
productivity...

No, this is not a good time to mention nor quote German social policy from the 1930's, but good taste and the New Republic are not on speaking terms at the moment:

Healthy working class families with numerous children today earn only enough for the necessities of life, which means that it is irresponsible that the state must provide the money for some genetically ill families who may have several family members in institutions costing thousands of marks annually.

Dr. Gerhard Wagner, 1936

Fortunately our Dr Ashton knows his history and goes on to say

vilification of poorer people

This assault on universalism has been eloquently described by Martin McKee and David Stuckler, who identify a key milestone as being the vilification of poorer people and the creation of a mindset among those in middling positions that those beneath them are scroungers and undeserving. The Poor Law concept of the deserving and undeserving poor is alive and well, and living in 10 Downing Street...

it is time to rise up and defend 

As we stand on the verge of possibly irreversible damage to one of the hallmarks of what it is to live in a civilised country, it is time to rise up and defend an institution that was built by our parents and our grandparents and which we owe to our children and our grandchildren to maintain and to pass on to them and to their guardianship.


However, our learned and humane professor has come to the attention of his bosses at NHS Cumbria and has been called-in a quiet chat,

John Ashton, one of Cumbria's top doctors, demands a government apology after being summoned to explain himself to local NHS chiefs for criticising planned health reforms

A spokesperson for the NHS region said in a Machiavellian rumble,

health service clinicians were always free to express their opinions as individuals, but the health service must remain non political - and the meeting was to ensure that Professor Ashton was 'mindful' of the differences.

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