|Editorial Commentary; Health & Social Care funding|
Is it the Government or individuals who need to take ‘responsibility’?
To a great extent ‘Health News’ headlines are just a ‘cut & paste’ exercise for the media every winter with ‘demands’ for ever more funds from the government, which ignore the basic fact that; ‘The government doesn’t have any money’!
There is no ‘money tree’ to provide ‘free money’ and it mainly comes from 3 sources;
*Taxes on individuals
*Taxes on businesses
*Borrowing - currently at around £60bn p.a.
It is easy to say that the ‘well off’ should pay more, but increasingly that has become to mean people who ‘saved’ during their lives rather than ‘spent as they earned’ not only contribute through taxes and pay for their own social care, but also subsidise state funded social care of others.
Calls for a Royal Commission to solve NHS and Social care funding issues tend to ignore the issue of personal responsibility. Why should the state ‘reward’ those who are ‘profligate’ and ‘punish’ those who ‘prepare for a rainy day’? Perhaps we should consider a nursery tale and remember that the ‘good times’ rarely continue for ever!
Why shouldn’t we start ‘fining’ those people who choose do drink too much and end up in A&E, thus ‘clogging up the system’ (especially over the Xmas / New Year period) and preventing/delaying care for those that are there because they are ill rather than by a personal choice to drink too much?
Perhaps we should adopt the system for A&E treatment that applies in the Republic of Ireland. There, if you attend the out-patients department or emergency department (A+E) of a public hospital without being referred by your GP or family doctor, you may be charged a standard fee. There is no charge if you are referred by your GP. You must show the referral letter from your GP when you attend the out-patients department or emergency department (A+E). Since January 1 2009, this charge is €100.
There will always be some unfortunate people who (through no fault of their own) need free/subsidised health & social care, but should being ‘grossly obese’ be a ‘ticket’ to a lifetime of benefits while many with mental health issues are left to ‘struggle’ on without essential help & support due to lack of funding?
Eating too much is often a simple personal choice that can be solved (for free) over time by an individual, while coping with say post-natal depression, is something that is not ‘self-inflicted’ and requires timely care from professionals.
The news is also currently full of headlines regarding ‘bad teeth’ of young children and how the government / LAs should ‘do something’ about the situation. While it makes sense to direct some/all of the expected Sugar tax revenue towards meeting the nearly £40m p.a. cost of Hospital dental care & related public health education programmes, we shouldn’t forget the ‘responsibilities of the parents.
Dental care starts with parents taking responsibility for ensuring THEIR children are taught how to brush their teeth as pre-school toddlers and that their in-take of sugary drinks etc. is limited. The ‘rot sets in’ (literally) before they go to school, so it is the parents’ responsibility to take their children to the dentists – not the Government’s. A 2-minute Google search provides basic information.
Simplistic statements perhaps, but so are the annual calls for ever more funding which often ignore previous reports/reviews that have recommended changes to the way Health and Social Care are provided.
If the government just borrows more money it may alleviate current funding ‘demands’ but it won’t solve the underlying issues behind this problem;
*Social Care & Health must be integrated
*Best Practice must be applied to provide Value for Money
*Personal responsibility must be ‘developed’ in the fields of Personal Behaviour, ‘Financial Preparedness’ and responsibility for young family members.