The BBC Panorama programme, The Perfect Storm [http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05y3fcb] broadcast last night, missed the point: this country can afford health and social care for an ageing population affected by chronic diseases. But it is the government’s obsession with creating a health ‘market’ and cuts that is destroying the NHS.
The programme raised serious points about chronic diseases and the current crisis facing both the NHS and social care in Liverpool, but the overarching cause of these problems was hardly mentioned. The drive to privatisation and public-service cuts are together causing the problems. Only when the NHS is returned to a publicly funded, publicly accountable service which is adequately paid for with public money can the problems be properly addressed. Otherwise, those who can afford the care will start paying for it and those who cannot will find themselves waiting longer and longer: just like in the USA.
Dr Alex Scott-Samuel is a member of Keep Our NHS Public and is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Liverpool:
‘The Panorama programme completely missed the point. A wealthy country like the UK can afford adequate health end social care for an ageing population. It is the Government's toxic cocktail of NHS and local government cuts, rationing end above all privatisation that is destroying the public sector.
‘We can afford to maintain our hospitals and to complement them with integrated, publicly provided community health and social care - including preventive services coordinated by a properly funded public health service.’