Saturday, 10 August 2013

Trending Central

Public sector greed and waste is costing lives

Political footballing with regards to Britain’s National Health Service is reaching fever pitch (pun intended), and those suffering most are the end users.
Not the wealthy, who would likely opt into a private medical plan, but instead, the working and middle classes of this country who are reliant upon quangos and bureaucrats like the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, who apparently think the lives of these Brits doesn’t merit redirected – not even EXTRA – expenditure.
This week alone in the United Kingdom, two people will die from Meningitis B. A vaccine exists. But it’s not considered valuable enough yet. Apparently nearly 2000 deaths a year simply isn’t a high priority.
Britain’s socialised health service spends money on sex change operations before it will spend money on the vaccine. It will spend money on interest on buildings (PFI) before it will spend money on the vaccine. It will spend money on delivery charges for packets of pasta, armies of press officers, PR agencies and bottles of champagne before it will spend money on the vaccine. Ok, we made that last one up – but it didn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility did it?
Last month we even learned about Josie Cunningham, who had a £5,000 breast enlargement on the NHS, and now wants them reduced again – another £1600 down the drain.
But what probably winds us up the most is not the fictitious champagne, but the real champagne – of the union sort.
While a vaccine costs just a few pounds, taxpayer-funded union organisers are raking in around £100m per year from the public purse. Jane Pilgrim, a ‘nurse’ at a South London hospital, was discovered to have been organising full-time for one of Britain’s largest trade unions, UNISON.
Taxpayers are shelling out at least £113m a year in paid staff time (£92m) and direct payments to unions (£21m). And somehow we are supposed to believe that in amongst the British government’s £712bn of public spending this year, money cannot be found to protect the lives of thousands of infants with a vaccine that already exists.
We’re not calling for an increase in government spending. That would be ludicrous. But you could scrap a number of pet projects and cut subsidies to sheltered, privileged industries in order to come up with the needed resources.
But if you did that, there would be an outcry from the Left, as there has been since 2010 as marchers complain about ‘draconian’ cuts and ‘bedroom taxes’. For every pound they try and squeeze for themselves and their vested interests, another child is at risk of dying from meningitis B in this country. Remind them of that next time they bemoan the  reduction in spending on playgrounds or youth centres. Remind them that playgrounds and youth centres are only useful if there are healthy kids to play in them.
It truly beggars belief that in the United Kingdom in the year 2013, 1870 people still contract meningitis B each year, and two or more people die every week from the disease. There is a ‘cure’. There is a vaccination.
And yet we do not have it.
Around twenty years ago, development on a vaccine that produces an antibody response to meningitis B began. The jab, which campaigners have been urging the British government to adopt, is thought to be effective against 73 percent of the strains of meningitis.
And yet we do not have it.
In part of course, this is due to spurious NHS-related practices, such as the hugely flawed Quality Adjusted Life Years test, which basically states that no treatment resulting in an added year of quality life should cost more than £20-30,000 per annum. This is the price that the British healthcare system puts on your life for one year. These life-and-death government decisions have grown increasingly insulated from day-to-day patient care. We’re not individuals anymore – we are merely calculations on a sheet of paper.
And yet we do not have it.
As our politicians keep telling us, “the NHS is safe in our hands”. Sure, this vaccine – and without a doubt, other novel innovations in the future – is considered “too much,” and as a result, some children might suffer. But cast aside your concerns about NHS waste, mismanagement, and almost monthly scandals, because the system, with all its foibles and shortcomings, is “safe”.
But it doesn’t matter which party you listen to. They all say the same things. And they’ve all presided over this despicable status quo where “the most feared of childhood infections” goes unprevented.
And yet we do not have it.