Friday, 11 November 2011

Earth to Nadine Dorries

If you're not familiar with Nadine Dorries, she's an abrasive Tory MP with an unhealthy interest in teenage girls' uteruses (uteri?) and a fine line in abusing colleagues and constituents, inventing statistics and generally making things up.

But now isn't the time to get into all that. Instead, this is just a quick corrective. In the course of her many hectoring and untrue statements on the BBC's Question Time this week, she announced that the government's intention is to get NHS safety up to the level of the private sector.

Now, I'm from a family which has both worked for and benefited hugely from the NHS. I've seen the best and the very worst of it. But I'm not having this kind of nonsense from a reactionary blow in. Two facts:

1. The NHS was founded because the private sector failed completely. The poor were treated only by charities, in extremes. There was simply no health care: ongoing treatment, vaccinations and so on. Hospitals were often filthy, unsafe and underfunded. Dorries' so-admirable private sector specialised in the kinds of back-street abortions which killed mothers and ruined lives.

2. If something goes wrong in a private hospital, you don't get some kind of 4-star care. They call an ambulance like everybody else, and you join the queue at your NHS A+E ward. That's the secret of profitable private health: they only do easy, quick things that make a lot of money. Anything complicated, like emergency medicine or chronic conditions - off to the state with you.

Now the NHS is being privatised, it's Forward To The Past. I look forward to my children contracting retro diseases like rickets and consumption.

Meanwhile, watch David Cameron talking about the NHS as 'a business'.

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