Saturday, September 30, 2006

Is saving lives just a marketing ploy?

A couple of days ago I said: "School nursing levels are extremely low, yet they play a key role in improving health but hospitals are high profile and save lives."

This question of saving lives has bugged my for years - what does it mean? It certainly doesn't mean saving lives as mortality is as certain as taxes. I vividly remember the first time that I used a defibrilator. I was on a night shift, in charge of the ward and a patient has been admitted an hour or so before with a heart attack. The patient went into ventricular fibriliation (her heart stopped beating) all of a sudden and I was there is a few moments with the defib and shocked her heart which then restarted. A few minutes later the crash team arrived and wanted to know what the fuss was about as my patient was sitting up asking for the loo!

The woman died about a year later. So did I save her life? No. Did I prolong her existance on this earthly plane? Yes. Did she enjoy her extra year? I hope so!

I spent quite some time getting cross every time I heard about a new treatment that would save lives - the whole emotive life / death thing hits people hard. How can we exist without this wonder pill? It almost seems like a marketing ploy.

Of course we should think about promoting good health and look after ourselves and others, these will help prevent early death / chronic disease. We should not kid ourselves that we can save lives - we must be honest with people.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"24 hours to sell the NHS"

Email letter to the BBC's Today programme yesterday

Dear Sarah, James and Today,

It was great to learn the news that the Labour conference voted against privatisation of the NHS yesterday, however my money is on government and ministers ignoring their party once again. I find the concept that Labour ministers can ignore their party utterly incomprehensible and this must be an appalling affront to these Labour members. This is all especially timely given the NHS Logistics strike against being privatised, and last week at the Green Party's conference we passed a motion in support of the NHS Logistics strike.

Clearly, most of the Labour Party want the same as the Greens in respect of the NHS as it has been Green Party policy for some time to oppose both privatisation and marketisation of the NHS. Fortunately these Labour members will have a home in the Green Party (who are the only major party opposing privatisation) once they have been disaffected by Blair and co.

The privatisation of the NHS is rampant under this government, perhaps we miss heard Blair when he said "24 hours to save the NHS" and he actually said "24 hours to sell the NHS".

Stuart Jeffery
Health spokesperson for the Green Party

Excert from the Green Party Manifesto for a Sustainable Society:

H104 Healthcare is not a commodity to be bought or sold. The National Health Service must provide healthcare, free at the point of need, funded through taxation. It must be a public service funded by, run by and accountable to local and national government and devoid of all privatisation, whether privatised administration, healthcare provision, support services or capital ownership. The NHS is concerned with healthcare provision and should not be subject to market forces either internal or external.