Is there no point in having our own government anymore?
I WATCHED John Swinney’s announcement of hundreds of millions of pounds in cuts to Scotland’s already struggling health service with a degree of sadness I haven’t felt outside of a funeral service. I sincerely hope that I don’t get sick and need his services anytime soon.
Judging by statements from the Bank of England, there is frankly little hope for the UK’s financial situation to improve in the foreseeable future. A long, cold winter of industrial discontent awaits us all. Interest rates will have to rise further, as well as fuel and food prices.
The British government’s frantic attempts to limit rising fuel prices through borrowing will end in April. There is no firm plan beyond this point. The only light at the end of this current financial tunnel is a big London locomotive about to crash into what will remain of the Scottish economy.
It looks like the Scottish Parliament has reached the limit of its ability to alleviate the UK’s financial nightmare. There is no spare money. Perhaps it is time for drastic action and for John Swinney and others to seriously consider the annual ground rent proposals, which have been ignored by the current Scottish Government for many years.
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Elections to the Scottish Parliament are years away. Unfortunately, some of our fellow citizens will not live to see them. They will have died at home for lack of heating and in our hospitals for lack of care. You cannot cut hundreds of millions of pounds from the Scottish NHS budget and expect to maintain the same levels of care. It is simply not possible.
An old friend of mine even thinks there’s no point having a Scottish Parliament if its main function is simply to implement further budget cuts and it’s probably best to close up shop and let the British Tories do their thing own dirty work.
We regularly see and hear complaints from people and politicians about wait times at A&E and how long it takes patients to get home or to a care home, ‘blocking’ the flow. This results in significantly lower expectations for elderly patients, which are supported by clinical leaders.
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One such lead from the Scottish Health Service was quoted the other day as saying the blockages would lead to negative outcomes for some users. For negative results, read deaths.
I now read that the Parliamentary committee to consider the cost of the proposed new National Care Service for the future of Scotland is asking questions about the costs of setting it up, in particular the cost of the IT system and the cost of implemented.
It is certainly appropriate to look at the costs and ensure they are fair to the Scottish taxpayer, however, this must be weighed against the cost of the current system and, as one leader said, by establishing the need to assign more staff to social care.
I have also read and heard that with an aging population it would be trying to fill a tub without a plug.
Previous investigation and analysis of the existing system revealed a disjointed system, where significant changes were needed. Root and branch is the level of change required and a nationwide service of care at the National Health Service is the only reasonable way forward.
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If we want to take care of our elderly (a growing population) we all have to pay and yes it will probably cost more, especially if staff can get better pay or less hassle working at McDonald’s or Aldi.
Thanks to the new British government, our lexicon of ironic comparators has grown considerably. For example, they offered us “the integrity of a Rishi”, “the empathy of a Suella” and, even better, the “compassion of a Tory”!