Douglas Carswell

05 FEB 2013

Honesty about the NHS

Tomorrow a report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust will be published. It is likely to be highly critical of the care that some patients received. Or rather didn't receive.

I've not read the report, but it seems that while patients might have had the clinical care they needed, they did not always get the other kinds of care. The report will, I am sure, contain all sorts of horror stories of neglect.

I hope that the report triggers some serious thinking, and a grown up debate about our NHS. For years, political discussion about health care has been trite.

Anyone remotely critical of NHS results has been accused of being "against the NHS". Those who point out that other countries sometimes have better health outcomes are often howled down.

As a result, we've rarely got on to discussing if some things could be done better. This needs to change.

As an MP, I've noticed a subtle shift in public attitudes. More and more constituents express their frustration with the "stand in line and wait" system. In a world of 24 hour super markets, many cannot understand why they have to ring back next week to get an appointment to see a GP.  Why are the quangocrats, rather than the customers using the service, king?  

It is perfectly possible to have a NHS that provides universal health care, free at the point of use - but one that gives the punter the kind of consumer power that they have over many other aspects of their lives. Public health care that puts the public in charge – every 60-something million one of them.

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