SACRED cows are dangerous things. And few places are more sacred than the NHS.
This country is truly proud of the post-war settlement that provided free healthcare to all in this country.
But over the years, the NHS has become a giant, inefficient block. Indeed, it is now one of the ten largest institutions in the world.
It has also moved, in seven decades, from a national institution to become a national religion.
The main reason the country shut down so quickly and aggressively at the beginning of the pandemic was “to protect the NHS”.
And we did. By keeping them indoors, we ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed. However, we do not exist to protect the NHS.
The NHS is meant to be there to protect us. And new figures this week suggest that is a long way from doing so. Even before the pandemic, NHS wait figures were dire, with 4.4 million people in the UK awaiting surgery.
The NHS itself admitted in February 2020 that almost three-quarters of a million patients had waited more than 18 weeks for a referral.
This was already a national scandal. But of course, the months of closing and protecting the NHS have made these numbers much worse.
Health Minister Sajid Javid conceded the most this week in the House of Commons. He said the number of people on the NHS waiting list would grow before they were sorted. How much?
Well, some experts predict that by March 2024 there will be 9.2 million people on the NHS waiting list, falling to 8.5 million by 2025. And that’s a best-case scenario. The less fun scenario is that the waiting list could peak at 10.7 million, falling to 10.3 million by 2025.
By any standards, this is dire. As a country, we like to think of the NHS as the envy of the world. In fact, it was only really Third Period envy. Few health services in the developed world suffer from performance problems like the NHS.
But our politicians still have to pretend that the NHS can’t do wrong.
The Labor Party is constantly trying to present itself as the champion of the health service. Not least by turning the lie that the Conservatives are trying somehow to “sell-out” the NHS. For their part, Conservatives are so scared of that baseless charge that they go out of their way to show how much they love the medical service.
Sometimes it’s shown in gestures – like the former Health Minister Matt Hancock forever wear an NHS badge. More commonly it is seen in Conservative governments just pouring money into a completely unimproved NHS.
Something that can be a state religion and a national disgrace at the same time. Although no one will thank you for pointing that out.
That’s what this Government has been doing. Boris JohnsonThe government has announced major tax increases, including an increase in National Insurance. It is doing so to transfer more money to the NHS. The impact of the tax increase will be felt across the country.
But do we feel the benefits? Well, that’s the plan. Including a tax increase would solve the NHS backlog. But as the figures above show, the backlog will be huge even as taxes rise.
That’s why Chancellor Rishi Sunak was reported this week to be working towards the NHS goals. If he continues to pour more and more money into an unimproved medical service, there is no way to improve. It will simply require more and more money. And that’s one of the NHS problems.
Even if it does the wrong thing, no one likes to determine the truth. The public is grateful to all the frontline health workers who have worked to avoid serious personal risk during the pandemic. But we’re not grateful for the lack of in-person appointments, dire wait times, and more. Maybe the NHS is weighed down by too much bureaucracy.
It could also be that it is used to overpaying its bureaucracy. I find that while the NHS lobbies to raise salaries for doctors and nurse staff, it is still paying its director of diversity close to a quarter of a million pounds a year. Can there ever be any justification for pointless activists receiving salaries of such magnitude? There’s no one.
But that’s why Rishi Sunak needs to carefully monitor what he delivers to the NHS. Something that can be a state religion and a national disgrace at the same time. Although no one will thank you for pointing that out.
I hate it when sports and politics meet. Sport has to be one of those things outside of politics. However, as the Winter Olympics have demonstrated, the two will continue to collide.
It is difficult to see how the International Olympic Committee could agree to let the Chinese Communist Party host this year’s Winter Olympics.
But it’s also hard to see how Fifa has agreed to let Qatar host the World Cup later this year.
I’m afraid the answer in both cases is petty corruption. Whenever I think of this, I can’t help but think of Chuck Blazer, an obese Fifa official who was incarcerated in New York a few years ago on corruption charges.
He was so overweight that there was a personal error, and tried to get rid of the Feds on it. Fortunately, Chuck was an easy man to spot and his resting place was thwarted.
But he always seems to represent the top earners of the sports world. Overeating, overpaying, and barely any connection to the sport or its fans.
BELOW KEY ‘N’ KIWI
GOOD to the Prime Minister for accelerating the end of Covid restrictions in the UK.
You can tell he has to do it. Because it turns out he’s not very good at following the rules he makes us all follow.
However, we should rejoice at this little mercy. Other countries are not so lucky. I have a special pity for the people of New Zealand. Like others trying to lift restrictions, their government can’t seem to shake the habit.
Just last week, even as neighboring Australia was opening up, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda ArdernThe government’s announced more restrictions across the country.
New Zealand looks more and more like an exotic place. Remember this is a country that was poised to shut down completely last year after just one man tested positive for Covid. I don’t know how they’re going to get out of this.
Maybe they won’t and they’ll just be alien islanders, strangers, no one allowed in and no one allowed out. What a shame. I like this place when I come. But it’s their choice if they want to be a time capsule – trapped forever in the summer of 2020.
BEEB’s SUCCESSFUL IN 2016
A GROUP of MPs have warned that the Government needs to act to prevent delays at the UK border by the end of the year.
According to them, swift action is needed to prepare for new border checks. Sounds reasonable.
But how did our national broadcaster decide to headline this? Of course, why the BBC decided to go with: “Brexit causes increased costs and delays, UK MPs say.”
Of course. Because at BBC it is always June 2016 and the referendum campaign is still going on.
THAT IS THE CRAZY OF GONG
I SEE that the Brit Awards have become “gender neutral”.
it’s another nod to the awakening fad of pretending that there’s no such thing as men and women, and we’re all magical people who can fade away gender at will .
Of course, not many people actually look to the Brit Awards to lay out the nation’s sex categories. Most people still know their birds from their bees. However, these can have a major cultural influence.
There was a time when you had Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, etc. But of course, the moment you announce that you will be awarded Artist of the Year, you signal that you no longer want to split everyone by gender.
And so surely then you will only have to give the award to one woman. You can’t announce Artist of the Year then give it to a man. Of course not.
But God help Adele for what she said when she received the well-deserved award.
“I understand why this has changed,” she said, holding the award. “But I really love being a woman and a female artist. I’m really proud of us.” So she should be. And it was nice to hear the cheers in the hall for her remarks.
However, to understand the oddities of our times, imagine a man who cannot say the same thing.
Imagine if the Artist of the Year award were given to a man and the man said, inconceivably, “I would really like to be a man.”
I think that person would now be torn to pieces for such a “stubborn” comment.
But everyone should be able to be proud of who they are. And most importantly, as Adele shows, they should be proud of whatever they actually achieve.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4652113/nhs-national-religion-disgrace-rishi-sunak-targets/ The NHS may be a state religion but it’s also a national disgrace