Those who remember life before the NHS can tell some real horror stories of how the cost of getting professional medical help was a luxury that ordinary families could not afford, and that they had to make do with home-made folk law potions to treat diseases, infections and general illness.
Looking back to the Labour Government of 1945 we see a true reforming government who made a firm and solid commitment to the nation that after fighting the Second World War, they would look after the people and provide the basic necessities of life for all our citizens.
This included the launch of the National Health Service, the creation of which was fought by many vested interests, but the Labour government stood by its socialist principles and ensured that the NHS was created and that everyone could access health care free at the point of delivery, paid for through taxation.
Throughout the 65 years of the NHS successive governments have tweaked and changed the way the service is run, with the introduction of creeping privatisation in the 1980’s and then in the 1990’s we saw the introduction of the “Internal Market” which changed the whole way in which the NHS is run.
As time moves on it is obvious that large organisations, like the NHS, have to evolve and adapt to keep abreast of changing technology and to remain relevant in a modern setting, however the current coalition government’s NHS reorganisation is a move too far and seems to be more to do with a change in political ideology rather than a true patient focused improvement programme.
Aneurin Bevan is quoted as saying
“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it”
With the current round of Hospital A&E closures, the Coalition government’s top down reorganisation and the continuing privatisation of NHS services, the need to fight for our NHS has never been greater.
Once the NHS has gone and we are back to the days when ordinary families have to rely on home-made potions to treat sickness, because they can’t afford a doctor, it will be too late. So while celebrating the 65th Birthday of the NHS, don’t let the Con-Dems Pension it off.
Cllr Peter Curling
Leader of The Labour Group
London Borough of Hillingdon