Saturday, May 31, 2008

Peak Oil - Radical Change Req'd

Letter in this weeks Health Service Journal:


The article in last week's HSJ (15 May) on rising fuel prices and its impact on hospitals was timely and welcome. However, it only scratched the surface of the issue.

Peak oil, the main cause of the continuing rise in fuel and energy prices, has arrived. Its impact on healthcare over the coming years will be more disastrous and cause more instability than we can possibly imagine.

Peak oil is the phenomenon caused when the extraction rate, i.e. supply, of crude oil reaches its maximum and begins to slow, unlike the demand for oil which continues to rise. Rather than just scratching the surface of finding slightly cheaper suppliers, the end of cheap oil means that we need a fundamental rethink on how healthcare services are provided.

Oil sits not only at the basis of energy supply but also at the basis of food, medicine and transportation. There is a need to completely reshape how we provide healthcare, reversing centralisation, privatisation and marketisation and focusing properly on public health and public provision.

Stuart Jeffery
Health spokesperson for the Green Party

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