The biggest responsibility of any government is to keep people safe. Safety comes in many forms, from guarding the country and preserving law and order to ensuring citizens have the opportunity to make ends meet and a health service able to treat them when they fall ill.
Yet the Government doesn’t seem to be able to keep us safe anymore, particularly when it comes to running our NHS. We all know someone unable to get the help they need in a reasonable length of time due to the way our health service has been starved of funding, but things have recently crossed a line.
Last week we found out 20 hospitals had issued black alerts, meaning they could no longer ensure patients’ safety. Even the British Red Cross, a politically neutral organisation used to dealing with war-zones and natural disasters, has said UK hospitals are facing a humanitarian crisis. While the Prime Minister has tried to defend her Government’s performance, her claims have since been undermined by evidence put forward by NHS England’s Chief Executive.
Meanwhile, the care system for England’s most senior citizens is close to collapse, putting further pressure on our NHS. Instead of trying to fix the problem the Government has resorted to slight-of-hand accountancy, cutting more money from local government then giving it back and claiming it’s new money for care. It doesn’t fool anyone.
Whatever the difficulties of recent years, the UK is one of the world’s five biggest economies. If other countries can afford to keep their health and care systems running so can we. The crisis in our NHS comes down to a political choice made by the Government. The Tories didn’t put it in their manifesto, the unelected Prime Minister hasn’t publicly committed to it, yet it’s happening all the same.
Locally the council is doing whatever it can to improve health services, from helping to increase surgery capacity and promoting public health to working towards a more holistic system for local healthcare. A better health system is possible, all it takes is a Government committed to the safety of its citizens.
Councillor for Broadfield South