Thursday, 13 October 2011

Unravelling the NHS

If you follow me on twitter you'll already know I have a healthy interest in politics. Our current government is slowly and steadily dismantling our beloved NHS (National Health Service) from one with full public accountability to one which is more dependent on profit margins rather than evidence based medicine. THIS MAKES ME VERY ANGRY.

There's a lot of despair at the moment, many of us feel our government is not listening to us, the people, or experts in the field such as the British Medical Association or the Royal College of Nurses.

Yesterday our unelected second house, the house of Lords, voted through the government's ill-advised health reform bill. We all felt hopeless, then I read this blog post. You should read it too.

Many of us are working out what to do. How can we reverse this disastrous decision when essentially the democratic process is failing us.

"The NHS reforms did not appear in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos. They were not in the coalition agreement. This government has no mandate to implement such wide-ranging changes." 

Lying in bed last night I had an idea. It's only a small idea but it's a way of demonstrating how we feel through the medium of knitting.

Unravelling the NHS

Knit the NHS logo, carefully, with time, building it up slowly just like the NHS was built over many years. Record your knitting progress through video, if you have it, or through photography. Do not tie off your final stitch, leave it undone...

Point out how long it took you to knit, the care and attention involved and how it it yours. You may also like to share your stories of how the NHS has helped you. Also point out what you fear about the NHS reform bill's implementation. As you talk about your fears unravel your knitting, demonstrating how quickly something that has taken much time, care and love and can quickly become unravelled.

This could also be used as yarnstorming.

You could knit something personal to you instead or as well as the NHS logo. eg I would make an inhaler to show my gratitude for a lifetime of NHS asthma treatment or a knee joint for my thanks to the NHS for repairing my knee following an accident. You get the idea.

This is just an early idea. Please feel free to add to it, make it your own. At the moment the NHS is ours, but I fear it won't be for much longer unless we take action.

If you like the idea please share it (twitter hashtag #unravellingNHS) and spread the word. Also share other ways of demonstrating that we, the people do not want this to happen. I'll leave you with the wise words of the great Nye Bevan:

"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it."


4 comments:

Debbie said...

Lots of people are tweeting/blogging about their fears over the "reforms" but none of you are specifying exactly what you fear will change. It would be so much easier to know whether to support your campaign if I knew what the changes you fear are. Is it a general distrust of profit making or more specific? I am currently knitting my way through husbands treatment for Pancreatic cancer in large NHS hospital, some staff hugely impressive but I can still see many things on a daily basis that with small changes/better planning & management could save time and money and improve services.

Ginger Knits said...

Those are good points Debbie. I personally think everyone should make up their own minds about what they dislike about the NHS reforms.

When I have time I'll add some links to relevant articles as well as expressing my own concerns of the reforms.

I'm not against change in the NHS and agree that there are certainly areas that could be greatly improved, even cut back on, but I'd like that to be done using evidence based medicine and practice and involving health professionals and patient consultation.

I hope your husband's treatment is a success and that you are both getting the support you need at this difficult time.

Bronagh said...

For me, Debbie, one concern is the waste of resources that will go into the reforms to little or no real change. For example, abolishing the PCTS won't end managers in the NHS - the GPs will end up employing those same managers, with a lot of money being wasted in the rearrangement. I'd rather the effort was put into improving the current system rather than removing accountability in a deckchair rearrangement exercise.

Undercover Owl said...

Hi Debbie
Good and valid question.
I've got LOTS of concerns about these 'reforms'.
Where do I start?
Well, the legal advice that 38 Degrees obtained on the changes is a good place and can be found over here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/content/NHS-legal-advice/

One of the big concerns is that the reforms write out the responsibility of the Health Secretary to be responsible for administering a universal healthcare system. They'll set up a committee to oversee it instead but the government would have absolutely no responsibility or accountability. At the moment there's a duty to provide universal access to health care. In other words, all people, regardless of where they live, how much money they have etc should have access to the same level of care. The reforms mean that we really would end up with a lottery as to the kind of care we receive.

The reforms will also cost more to implement than they will actually save. I think the figure I remember seeing was that it will cost us approx £1.2 billion to implement them. That is an awful lot of nurses, doctors, antibiotics etc.

And personally, I think it's really obnoxious that people without the money to access health insurance should receive a lower standard of care than those who can afford to go private. I'm lucky enough that my husband has a good job, that his employer currently offers health cover to those who want to opt in. A lot of people aren't that lucky. I like the fact that we live in a society that cared enough to set up an institution like a National Health Service.
I could go on and on for hours!