Tory austerity measures, which are cuts to public spending, are adversely affecting our health. A landslide victory for the Tories will hasten the demise of the NHS and negatively impact on social care and mental well being. Too many Tories are bad for our health.
The Tories believe in small government; they do not think the state should be involved in citizens daily lives. If Labour had that approach, it would never have created the NHS.
The Tories aim to dismantle the NHS. They are not so misguided as to announce the intention. They are achieving it through stealth. It is alarming how many private companies provide NHS services and the number of NHS property sold. The Tories strategy is to cripple the service before announcing that an alternative system is needed because the NHS is failing.
So, they deliberately underfund the system. George Osbourne, the former Chancellor, has admitted reducing the spend. The current plan is to cut spending of £22b by 2020. The BMA warns that would damage the NHS.
The NHS is certainly not safe in Tory hands.
The Tory manifesto bemoans the cost of caring for older folk, although half a million have no care at all. Some people will get it free; others will have to pay for it. Namely, old folk with homes that have an artificially inflated price tag. They would have to pay for their care save £100,000 of their estate. The Tories have kind of U-Turned. But that is not the only shortcoming with their social care policy. They also need to address why home care and residential care cost the same.
Confused? You should be for the Tories do not have a clear policy. They have airbrushed out 14 million adults and children reliant on social care. Instead, they have amplified those who have the misfortune of a degenerative disease or other age-related illness. Our old people should not become social piranhas. Social care needs a universal approach, not a piecemeal one.
The NHS is free at the point of service while social care is meted out on the old poor law principle of means testing. Like the NHS, I think we should pool the risk among taxpayers. No individual should shoulder all the burden for their social care. It is the morally right thing to do. Labour ‘s 2010 blueprint was rejected by the Tories. It goes against their small government and austerity ideology.
The Tories threaten our mental wellbeing. In the past four years, they have cut mental health funding by £150m. So, surely the rise in the number of unexpected deaths from mental health patients cannot be pure coincidence. Between 2012-13 the increase stood at 50%.
Budget cuts of 40% create a bed shortage. So, mentally ill patients are finding themselves held in prisons or police cells. For some young people, it has meant their treatment is taking place in adult psychiatric wards; surrounded by individuals who have dementia and the terminally ill. The shortage of and increase for mental health assistance is being met by the police and A&E hospital departments. Neither is the best use of scarce resources.
Austerity is not the only way. It is the Tory way and it has far-reaching consequences for our health. The government scapegoats others for its damaging effects. The NHS is failing because of militant doctors, old folk live too long, and the vulnerable are skivers. Giving the Tories any majority is giving them license to dismantle our health care. On June 8th you decide.
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