9 September 2012
The future of the NHS - do we have one?
On Sunday 9th September a panel with Caroline Lucas MP and Dr Gabriel Scally took place at Green Party Conference to discuss the future of the NHS under the Coalition Government and beyond.
Dr Gabriel Scally, a senior NHSdoctor, was until April employed by the Department of Health (DH), but resigned owing to his alarm at the Government's health policies. Dr Scally felt that he would be better place to voice his fears outside of the DH. Caroline Lucas, Green MP, has long expressed concern over the future of the NHS, as she reiterated during the session:
"It's unfair that quality of care suffers when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.
"It's unfair that taxpayers fork out over £1bn every year on private finance schemes."
During his speech, Dr Scally spoke of his fears and conerns over the state of the NHS: "This Coalition is dangerous to the health of this country. In my view it is systematically dismantling the structures of a healthy society."
"One of the great killers that we fail to acknowledge is excess winter deaths," Scally said. "We have poor quality housing and insulation, and yet this government is making it harder for people to make their houses more energy efficient."
Air pollution and its detrimental effect on public health was also discussed, with Dr Scally pointing out that "34% of children in primary schools travel to school by car. Shamefully, of that number, 37% live less than half a mile from the school.
"Poor air quality in this country results in at least 3,000 deaths a year," Dr Scally said. "We need a joined-up discussion at a local level about how to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities, but I have doubts about how much space will be created by the Department of Health for this."
A full video of the debate will be available in this space very soon.