I just submitted this to the BBC News website.
“I owe a lot to our NHS. I think we all do. Our NHS is one of the things that makes life in Cumbria better (as in the rest of the UK). Watch Michael Moores’ film “Sicko” if you need an external perspective! Phew! We are so fortunate in having our NHS.
I think that’s why NHS reform is so emotive a topic. It is a “wonder of an elephant” that means different things to different people. It’s very important to our quality of life that we get outcomes that are optimal! I don’t remember David Cameron saying that NHS reform would be top down? That may have been projected on him out of fear or for party political purposes? The Big Society initiative could mean a far more inclusive and participatory analysis of our health care delivery context. On Saturday I (and a roomful of interested people) heard about localism and broadband at a very encouraging conference at Carlisle Racecourse (which, by the way, proved to be a really good conference venue) organised by The Carlisle Parish Council’s Association. We heard that the Localism Bill, soon to become an Act, will give us more say in helping steer policy if we engage at community level, in our Parishes and Neighbourhoods. All of us have excellent incentive for such engagement.
Here’s my twopennyworth. This is important, this is complex, we need 360 degree perspective on this. I’m glad that people care about health care. Let’s talk about this in our Parishes and Neighbourhoods and do our bit to help see reforms strengthen our NHS to cope with the challenges of our times! We can’t say this has got nothing to do with us. Local politics isn’t just about getting folks to scoop the dog poop. We need Big Society to help deal with challenges of all sorts of magnitude including the really massive ones – like helping our NHS deliver help to us.
For patients’ and patients’ families what David Cameron said in the Q&A session yesterday was like throwing open windows to let in light and fresh air to the issue!
“In a question and answer session after the speech, he was asked how he could ensure a drive for competition did not just mean privatisation, he said: “The idea that all these changes amount to privatisation is simply not true… I think we’ve just got to grow up over this debate and recognise what matters to the patient, what matters to the public is, ‘Is there a good, free national health service, free to me at the point of use that’s giving me the operation I need, the care I need, the support I need?'”
Yes. You’re spot on there, David. Thank you sincerely. We need to engage as Big Society to let our leaders know what else we want in relation to NHS reform. If reform is well shaped it could be very beneficial. Let’s help shape it as well as we can. We need to update our thinking in relation to communications – not just in terms of the technology that clearly needs upgrading around here, but as engaged citizens.”