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Darcus-Howe
NHS reform is just not cricket, old boy

POLITICAL RANTING: Cameron is talking gobbledegook over health reform

Month AFTER month before, during and after the election campaign we have been tossed hither and thither on issues about our health.

In short, the NHS on which we depend, free at the point of delivery, has become a football to be kicked around by politicians.

We cannot afford to keep things as they are, they say. There are too many nurses, they say, too many ancillary staff, they shout. They speak loudly about cuts, here, there and everywhere.

The same goes for the professional classes. They remain quiet, though, about the fact we immigrants are the ones upon whose backs the system rides.

King’s College Hospital has been my ‘second home’ for more than 35 years.

The records held in Accident and Emergency tell the history of my health. Dislocated shoulder, damaged knees, fractured limbs, all acquired playing cricket.

Add to these diabetes and prostate cancer in the early evening of my life.

As I write, Prime Minister Cameron babbles about recent developments. He even manages to include a single experience with his child. All the threats and promises before, during and after the election have crashed. A bill patched to the hilt is currently before Parliament.

He goes on and on in front of the cameras about changes to come, hugely different, it seems, from those he shouted before. We, the patients, are none the wiser.

A couple of weeks ago I was going backward and forward from my home to the cancer clinic. The vast majority of patients were older black men. Uncertainty reigned. Those, like me, who can be described as survivors of a long and brutal journey wear faces of suspicion. Others hang their heads nervously. And now we are plagued with uncertainty generated by the Con/Dems

Our experiences with GPs and hospitals do not tally with Cameron’s scaremongering that the NHS has been badly managed. Those of us who have been sliced in the operating theatres survived with the kindness and generosity of post-operative care within the NHS. Others who sat next to us in the oncology clinics are now dead and buried.

During a recent visit I witnessed terror on the faces of West Indian men because of the general uncertainty that now reigns at King’s.

We all wonder at times if, on some particular day as are about to keep an appointment with our GP, if the offices will have disappeared and the personnel transferred into private hospitals.

I cannot recall anytime in the past 50 years when fear and uncertainty have so dominated the minds of patients.
I have survived prostate cancer and managed my diabetes with the help of medication and self-discipline. Yes, I have concerns abut my health, and those who are middle-aged face that condition.

Political rant after political rant undermines our comfort; putting in place cuts and more cuts couched in a language that can only be described as gobbledegook.

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