Ben has written an important article on NHS in his latest newsletter and for the local paper. It merits the main message being repeated here.
If the critics of the new health reforms are blaming how it has been communicated then this goes some way to explain why the reforms are so important and necessary.
He invites you to discuss this with him at his surgery session, (details printed at the end)
From Bens Evening Star column, published on 24th Febuary.
"We all know what the problems are with the NHS: too much money goes on bureaucracy, doctors are not given enough control, patients are often left out of decision-making, and too little money is spent on prevention - especially in elderly care and chronic diseases - and too much on clearing up problems in hospital that should have been dealt with earlier elsewhere.
Worst of all, the difference in life expectancy between those who have money and those who do not is disgracefully wide. The NHS was invented to close this gap - so everyone could expect the same healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay.
Let me first bust a myth that has persisted too long. Whilst the vast majority of people working in the NHS are public spirited and hard working; whilst the treatments we receive a often very good; whilst the range of treatments we receive is remarkable: the NHS is not the best health service in the world.
If Ipswich were transferred to Holland, or Germany, or France, or even Valencia in Spain - the people of this town would receive better healthcare than in Britain. In cancer survival rates, the difference is most marked: by some measures only a few former eastern bloc countries do worse. Indeed, in one Indian cardiac hospital in Bangalore, more people are treated to better effect at significantly less cost (even accounting for wage differentials) than in any cardiac hospital in the UK.
Why is this the case? Because in Holland, Germany and France, the health system is managed more by clinicians - doctors and consultants - and less by bureaucrats. Their health systems are more efficient, meaning that money goes where it is needed. And the management of care for the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions is better integrated.
I don't think that this is right. Why should you get worse healthcare than someone similar over the North Sea, who contributes roughly the same to the cost of their cover?
Now, the health bill before the House of Commons goes some way towards bringing some of that best practice to our health service. People write to me and ask whether I am in favour of it. The answer is yes: because it is already making a difference in Ipswich reducing elderly admissions to hospital, reducing waste in the drugs budget, and planning care for people with long-term conditions. I would not support it if it was not good for Ipswich or for my family.
My only criticism is that it does not take us close enough to the systems in the continent, which will continue to better us unless we keep up reform. Only then will we have an NHS that is truly the envy of the world'.
The Health of Ipswich
Come to my open surgery on 3rd March, between 10 and 12, at Colchester Road Baptist Church, where there will also be local councillors and police from the north east Safer Neighbourhood Team. You may want to argue with me about this article!
phone: 0845 634 9197