Recently the idea has been inserted quietly into the media of charging patients for making visits to their GP's.  It is suggested that it would be appropriate to introduce charges for richer patients and pensioners and for fines to be charged for patients who do not turn up for appointments, along with charges for hospital treatment.  I would agree that the cost of missed appointments does need to be tackled in some way but I'm not sure that this is the right solution. As for the other suggestions, I would vehemently oppose them.  Charges would range from £5 to £25.  This issue was also raised in the last edition of 'Question Time.'  

Kate Barker who is apparently the chair of the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England, is reported to have said that the current system is unsustainable.  The argument is that charging is needed to meet the long term needs of an ageing population.  Another idea is that the age when one is entitled to free prescriptions should now be raised to 65.  When the words 'unsustainable' are used it suggests that the country cannot afford to pay for the NHS.  If that is true, then it can only be because the country does not have enough funds to support such a vital service.  I would suggest that this is part of the Tories strategy to privatise the NHS so that their friends and financial backers can carve up the NHS for their benefit and not the patients.  

If funds are running short it is because the country is losing billions because of the governments mismanagement of the finances.  You only have to look at how we, the Tax-payer was short-changed when the Royal Mail was sold off at a knock down price.  We the people were cheated out of £2 Billion, which the bankers collected. Although Cameron, Osborne et al were behind it, Vince Cable was the 'front man.'  We have been cheated out of tax income with legal loopholes not closed down by the government, adopted by large companies that channel their profits through other countries, thus avoiding the tax bill that should be paid here.  The university fees fiasco is likely to be expensive for the Tax-payer. These funds, along with the 2 Billion mentioned above would support the NHS and other vital public services.

The NHS is unsustainable because the Tories want it to be so and continually focus, along with the right-wing press on the problems the NHS is having.  Little is ever said about the vast areas of excellence and outstanding practice and the value for money the NHS provides.  At the last election we were sold the liar that the NHS would be protected and would not be subject to vast upheaval and funding would ring-fenced. £20 Billion of savings demanded!!!  Lies, Lies and even more Lies.  

The simple truth is that there is a relentless undermining of the NHS by the Tories for the sole purpose of softening it up for take over by private companies.  The sad truth is that  not all of this can be blamed on the present occupants of numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street.  Blair and Brown are implicated in the drive to introduce the private sector into the NHS and other public services.  Companies and/or individuals should not be able to make a profit out of someone's ill health.  The NHS has to stay in public hands, free at the point of delivery and paid for out of taxation for the benefit of all not just the government's mates.  We need to fight with all our energy to ensure that it is not carved up for the wealthy and powerful to feast on.

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