My NHS Letter to the Prime Minister

National Health ServiceBelow is a letter that I have sent to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, regarding the current state of the NHS and its future.

Dear Rt Hon David Cameron MP,

The NHS is in crisis – five years ago you promised that the NHS was safe in your hands; that there would be no more top down reorganisations; that frontline services would be protected and health spending in real terms would increase.

I am writing to ask you to stand by your promises to protect the NHS and to:

Protect our NHS: Stop the privatisation and fragmentation of NHS services. Private profits have no place in our national health service
Stop wasting our money on a big top down reorganisation, and carry out a full consultation of the impact of the Health and Social Care Act 2012
Invest in our NHS: For a start you can provide the real increase in NHS funding you promised.
Stop using our NHS savings to pay off the deficit and recycle it back into improving servicing and investing in NHS staff.

I have previously worked in the NHS, and seen first hard the destruction and chaos caused by your NHS reforms. In the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust there are huge waits for key services, including Accident & Emergency – something which is replicated up and down the country. Patient care has slipped into a second place priority with cost becoming the main driving force. As one example, I’m sure that you will understand that patients, who are nearing the end of their life, do not deserve to be stuck on Acute Assessment Units, where themselves and their families cannot have peace and a final bit of quality time to spend together due to the hustle and bustle of these units – unfortunately, this happens more than you might like to admit due to a lack of staff and lack of beds on appropriate wards.

Access to treatment is restricted based on ‘cost-benefit analysis’ with seemingly little to no consideration to individual circumstances or quality of life. Your government claims to want to help ‘hard working people’ succeed whilst simultaneously placing barriers, through treatment restriction, to disabled people across the country. Your government is throwing people on to welfare, demonising them and then removing what little support they have left.

Your government has taken an NHS that had difficulties, but was stable, to a National Health Service which is now on the critical list, in serious danger of collapse. Increasing pressures, compounded by failures in primary care, have taken the NHS to the brink – and the only reason that it is still functioning in any way at all is due to the sheer determination and dedication of NHS staff who, day in day out, continue to do an excellent job, treating an ever increasing amount of patients, some with ever more complex medical conditions, whilst having substantially less resources to work with.

Prime Minister, the NHS is not about small percentage increases and party political posturing by the Conservatives. The NHS is about people, the patients as well as the staff. Your government is presiding over a completely failed NHS policy in the name of austerity.

And what have we achieved? Well, by strangling the economy, you’ve failed to hit your deficit targets whilst simultaneously ensuring that access to a GP is harder than ever, A&E waiting time targets are being regularly missed across the entire nation (this despite you, during the previous Parliament, lowering the target from 98% to 95% within 4 hours), increasing numbers of people are dying sat in ambulances outside hospitals, response times to emergency 999 calls are getting longer, elderly people aren’t getting the care they need, patients in general aren’t getting the quality of care that the staff want to provide.

For all your speeches on the NHS, and your insistence of its importance to you, it is not words that the NHS need and it is not words that convince me that you are doing the right thing for the NHS. It is your actions and your results.

Whilst the need for fiscal constraint in these tough times is acknowledged, the choices that your government has made have indicated, no matter what you say, that you have prioritised policies such as tax cuts for millionaires over properly funding our National Health Service.

Mr Prime Minister you have a choice. Turn back and save our NHS for future generations or go down in history as the leader responsible for the destruction of the NHS.

I implore you to make the right decision and stop your systemic destruction of the National Health Service.

Yours sincerely,
David Smith.

7 comments

  • The worst thing this government can do to make the vulnerable in society even more vulnerable is to scrap the independent living fund, I class myself as many others as a vulnerable adult who is reliant on others to get through each fay, unlike many I have my close family to support me.many others do not, make this government see sense and keep the independent living fund, or like many other cuts see people die as a consequence.

  • dpsmith

    Totally agree Derek. The cuts have been particularly disproportionate against low income, disabled, the young and unemployed.

    Whilst the need to be careful with our finances as a country is a priority given the dreadful Global Financial Crisis that most Western nations have gone through, our government really needs to take a long hard look and evaluate the crisis that is unfolding due to these cuts.

    The Independent Living Fund is a fantastic example of a program by government, in existence since I was born, that over the years has helped some of the most vulnerable and disabled in society.

    Even if this cost a lot of money (which, proportionally, it actually doesn’t – but even if it did) I would say that it is some of the best money spent by government – and this is one of the reasons that this fund has been in existence now for 27 years.

    It’s heartbreaking to watch the videos of people who get assistance from the ILF – many of whom are now saying that basic tasks that most of us take for granted – like getting out of bed, answering the front door or getting a glass of water wouldn’t be possible without the assistance they currently receive.

    And I really want to dispel the ‘working myth’ that surrounds so many of these things. People receiving support from the ILF include some of the most severely disabled people in the UK – and, due to the help of the ILF, many have and continue to manage full time employment, overcoming all the obstacles that, prior to the ILF, were impossible to overcome for the average man and woman.

    Scrapping the ILF (or as the Tory government are trying to sell it – ‘transferring the care to Local Authorites’) is one of the biggest steps backwards for equality, social justice and progressive politics and the 30th June 2015 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent times for our country.

    I also think your point about family is a big one – and one of the big assumptions is that everyone has family or a close network of friends to help them and for some people, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this just isn’t true. Where do we expect them to turn to? It’s hard enough if you do have family support and friends.

    Personally, that day, it will make me ashamed on behalf of our fantastic country which for decades has led the world in progressive policies. It is upsetting that this will also be done in our collective name – I for one, if I had the power, would immediately reinstate the ILF – this Conservative government does not speak for myself (and I’m sure many others up and down the country feel exactly the same).

  • I WOULD LIKE TO ADD MY NAME TO YOUR LETTER TO DAVID NUTTALL , AS I AM ALSO ONE OF HIS CONSTITUENTS.

  • David Smith

    Hi Mark,

    Welcome! Excellent, thanks for registering and posting – that’s no problem, my pleasure – the more people we get putting the pressure on the government to tell them that what they are doing is unacceptable the better!

    And particularly it is also important to put pressure on David Nuttall, our local MP in Bury North. In the 5+ years he’s been our MP now he’s not once done anything worth taking notice of for the people of Bury – in fact he’s voted down legislation such as that which would have created many more apprenticeships for people in Bury, Manchester and the North of England.

    Thanks for adding your voice to my letter – much appreciated :).

    If you can, help spread the word – the more people we can get supporting this the better!

  • Ben

    Hi David,

    Nice blog theme you’re using. Love the colour scheme.

    Now, I don’t really care much about politics nor am I in favour of any particular political party. They’re all almost as terrible as each other, at slightly varying degrees. Really, there is only so much one person can shoulder, which is why I generally do not check the news about these kinds of issues that the media likes to talk about. We all know why they do it, but that’s for another conversation.

    I was very close not to posting this because I don’t want to offend you, but reading through some of your posts has compelled me to register and post my thoughts. It is clear from your posts that you do not support the Conservative party and it is fairly obvious you dislike them. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of the Conservative party, but I am a realistic person. Even though I may not agree with some of the policies of the Conservative government, I feel your posts are very disingenuous and quite deceptive because you repeatedly attack the Conservative party at every opportunity and at the same time, promote the Labour party. Can you not see how this can come across? Your posts look a bit too much like political propaganda to me, and I don’t find that very impartial.

    I want to be clear, I am NOT defending the Conservative party – I do not really like them. There is a lot of unpleasant things I could say about the Conservatives and Labour, but I would want to be careful to make sure I am not manipulating people’s views, so they can make their own informed and impartial decision as to which party is right for them.

    It goes without saying each party is aimed at a different kind of person. There is no doubt about that.

    • David Smith

      Hi Ben,

      Welcome – thanks for joining. Apologies it took me a while to approve your comment – I’ve let things slip recently.

      On the contrary, thank you for your comments – they are most welcome and always appreciated. I’m not here to censor debate and nor do I want to have solely one point of view expressed here (hence why comments are allowed on all posts).

      You are right in that I clearly do not support the Conservative Party. And yes, there are many posts that do attack the Conservative government and support not only the Labour Party, but the Labour movement as a whole, European socialist parties and movements as well as the Trade Union movement.

      I do not believe in most of what the Conservative Party are doing to our country – they say they’re doing it in the name of economic prosperity (which is something I want – I am broadly speaking a capitalist – I say broadly speaking because I don’t think it’s necessarily the best system – but it’s the best system we’ve come up with so far). If the Labour Party were in government and doing the same things I would be equally critical.

      I have, through other forums and social media, expressed my dissatisfaction at Labour Party actions whilst they were in goverment to. And more recently, and on this website as well, I was a vocal opponent of Jeremy Corbyn and the way that the Labour Leadership election is ran. I still frequently remain a vocal opponent to the potentially emerging position of the Labour Party on defence and in particular, on Trident.

      It is accepted that everyone has their own bias – even organisations. That’s just a part of life. One man’s propaganda is another man’s exposure of the truth in a country where the rich and powerful and all-but-monopolised press tend to dictate what view they would like people to take on certain things.

      I very much hold socialist values close to heart, and the Labour Party is an embodiment of those views, therefore I cannot apologise that I publicly offer them my support – particularly at a time when the working class, trade unions, and what the Tories like to call ‘hard-working people’ are coming under constant attack from an out-of-touch, elitest government.

      Please feel free to keep commenting – it’s always great to have a debate going and I would like to encourage you to post on any and all of the posts here!

      My aim is that this is a place where things can be discussed, debated, disagreed on and that’s it’s a place that I will (hopefully) try to keep out pointless name calling or abuse.

      I found your above comment very interesting and welcomed the chance to reply to it. Hope to see you comment again soon!

      • Ben

        (Please delete previous reply from me – it didn’t post the full post properly for some reason.)

        Hi David,

        I appreciate your sincere efforts to create a forum where different views can be shared in a friendly and respectful environment.

        I should be clear that I do feel a country which has a mix of socialism and capitalism provides the best balance for a country like the UK. It became clear to me long ago that too much of either can lead to negative consequences. If you look at the United States, they are (in my view) a hyper-capitalist society; and the divide between rich and poor is greater there than it is here. And because of this, I do find people seem to have fewer rights there than we do here in the UK (e.g. in employment and redundancy rights, consumer rights and social security – among others).

        All I will say is both the Conservatives and Labour are equally responsible for their share of good and bad decisions in government. I feel the Labour government are responsible for the immigration problems we have today. While I am not a supporter of the Conservative party and disagree with many of their policy decisions in their current (and past) term in Parliament, I do feel they have done good work to protect and improve our economy – which is stronger and growing faster than many other European countries. They have also helped millions of people take home more pay (even those on low income) with the generous increases in the Personal Allowance threshold, and the continued freeze on fuel duty. However, I do disagree with their aggressive action against disability and social security benefits; but I do also feel it is the government’s responsibility to ensure people that are on benefits (e.g. housing benefit, jobseekers’ allowance, etc.) that are capable of working get the help and encouragement to do so and be penalised when they fail to take reasonable opportunities when they are presented to them. I do agree with the government that the social security system as it currently stands is seriously difficult to sustain in the long-term. Of course, if you are disabled in a way where you cannot work (whether as a result of a mental or physical disability), the government should do all it can to help provide the necessary resources and income you need to support yourself and have a good standard of living, but more should be done to help disabled people find work. There are many disabled individuals across the country that want to work but their circumstances make it difficult for them to do so; especially physically disabled people and those with mental health disorders that deserve every chance to find and secure employment.

        {{{ And more recently, and on this website as well, I was a vocal opponent of Jeremy Corbyn and the way that the Labour Leadership election is ran. I still frequently remain a vocal opponent to the potentially emerging position of the Labour Party on defence and in particular, on Trident. }}}

        I am not sure whether or not Jeremy Corbyn is the right choice for the Labour party. He has implied – and in many cases expressed support – for people and organisations that have extreme views that only help to fuel violence, hatred and misunderstanding between people of different faiths and customs. He made a grave mistake expressing his support for such organisations no matter how noble his intentions were: it sent the wrong message to extreme individuals. Perhaps the reason Jeremy showed support for these people is because some of them feel our governments have interfered in their lives and their country, but the way Jeremy did it sent the completely wrong message. The only way to peace and happiness is to stop the cycle of hatred, violence and misunderstanding. God is love, and love is true. Love is the most powerful energy. Hate, violence and extremism is the opposite of love. Every action we take and every thought we make affects others in more ways than we can understand. There are ways to achieve what you want positively – with greater and lasting results – than resorting to violence and extreme thoughts.

        {{{ One man’s propaganda is another man’s exposure of the truth in a country where the rich and powerful and all-but-monopolised press tend to dictate what view they would like people to take on certain things. }}}

        I agree with you that many organisations in the press are very monopolistic and in my view do a very concerning good job at controlling what people think about whatever subject matter they decide to talk about. The Leveson inquiry led to absolutely nothing substantial to try and address the actual problem; and just appears no less to have been a petty action by our government to appease the “in the moment” media drama. A Royal Charter is not binding on anyone – and I am very disappointed and quite saddened at how little our government is doing to try and stop this poisonous culture. It’s certainly not a new problem – but it’s one that needs to be taken seriously. Perhaps there’s another reason why nothing is being done!