Last Saturday campaigners attended the third International Development Conference at Newcastle University. With their broken heart in tow, they got talking to as many delegates as possible to gauge exactly how the ‘Big Society’ really feels about Mr Lansley’s proposed NHS reforms. They say that a picture paints a thousand words and these photographs speak volumes.
The theme of the conference was ‘inequality’. Speakers who work both within and outside the UK discussed the empirical evidence that exists to show the detrimental effects of inequality on all aspects of society. For example, in their book ‘The Spirit Level’, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have given repeated examples illustrating how large differences between the richest and poorest people in a society can result in poorer health (be it mental, cardiovascular, reproductive, the list goes on)[i].
The primary outcome of the conference was that more pressure and focus should be placed on eradicating these differences. Given that the Health and Social Care Bill would open the NHS to market competition and result in privatisation, providing a preferential option for the rich, surely this would perpetuate already well documented health inequalities? It would be interesting to hear what Mr Lansley has to say in defence of his reforms considering this wealth of evidence. If the sources cited above weren’t enough, perhaps we could redirect him to The Marmot Review[ii] for further proof of how ludicrous his proposal is? Unless, that is, he wants only the rich to receive the best standards of healthcare.
The photo collages in today’s blog document the general views of delegates at the conference and amongst concerned members of the public was Matthew Davidson, a third year medical student, who said that the coalition government would be ‘putting the power into the hands of the GPs; they’re trained to practice medicine rather than to manage the allocation of these funds … it isn’t the perfect solution at all’.
Mr Cameron and Mr Lansley, the evidence is overwhelming; your ‘Big Society’ isn’t willing to sit and watch you destroy their NHS and we will not struggle to find more members of the public who want you to know this. Watch this space!
Intercalating Medical Student – University of Liverpool
[i] Wilkinson R, Picklett K. The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. 1st ed. London: Penguin; 2009
[ii] Marmot Review. Fair Society, Healthy Lives: Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010. London: Marmot Review; 2010