A voter has drawn my attention to a cross party Bill that Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party) presented to the House of Commons on 11th March 2015. It was supported by 11 other MPs from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru. I have read this National Health Service Bill to restore the NHS as a publicly funded and accountable service with very great interest. I am a passionate supporter of the National Health Service not only because I was born in Tredegar, birthplace, home and constituency of Aneurin Bevan, the Minister for Health commonly considered the architect of the NHS (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/bevan_aneurin.shtml) but also because my entire family have had good service from the NHS since it's outset.
I think that sometimes people forget the concept of the NHS. It is not a charity, it not a gift from a rich donor, it is not a commercial body trying to make money for shareholders, it is not something that "The Government" provides from some imaginary pot of money. It is a service that each and every individual in the UK pays for out of taxes, and just remember that we are taxed in many ways, VAT, duties on alcohol and tobacco as well as income tax. We all own the NHS, we pay into it to provide a service to us when we need it, for going to the dentist, for having our eyes tested, for pregnancy and contraception services. Just imagine the cost of having a baby if you had to pay the midwife, doctor, surgeon, nurses. This treatment is given unquestioningly because it is equally available irrespective of job, class, colour, creed, gender or sexuality. It is neutral and judgemental because it is about improving the health of our nation as a whole, from cradle to grave.
Recently, I have been concerned about reports in the media of hospital failures of hygiene, lack of nursing care and overloaded emergency services and I believe that these issues have come about through the internal market system imposed on NHS services. This focuses far too much on financial outcomes and achieving statistical targets as opposed to real care for the patients. As a service for all more energy should be spent on co-operation, open science and working together in order to improve health. I do therefore fully support the inclusion of the National Health Service Bill in the first Queen's Speech of the new parliament, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2014-2015/0187/15187.pdf.
Incidentally, I was campaigning at the weekend for the NHS to be kept as a public service.