The NHS and The Tyranny of The Bottom Line

We should never give in to tyranny.
Mention tyranny of course and people immediately think of Hitler’s stormtroopers herding people into Gas Chambers or Saddam’s thugs dousing families in petrol and grinningly rattling a matchbox. The most dangerous tyrannies are more subtle and insidious though. Take the tyranny of The Bottom Line for example.
You, like me, probably spent most of your life thinking the Hippocratic Oath sworn by newly qualified medical professionals bound them to “preserve life and alleviate suffering” full stop.
Not any more it don’t.
Sometime in the last few decades, probably quite recently in fact, it has been rewritten to read “I will endeavour to preserve life and alleviate suffering while always prioritising the need to stay within budget.” Or so it would seem.
You may remember Little Nicky Machiavelli slamming the government a few weeks ago over Health Minister Patricia Hewitt’s promise that she would get the deeply indebted NHS back in the black or resign. We suspected some creative accounting would be involved of course.
Well its almost March and, surprise, surprise, the NHS is back in the black. So what dark arts did the minister call upon? The tyranny of the bottom line of course. By that fiscal sleight of hand called accountancy the ministry have diverted our attention from what was going on so now they can point to The Bottom Line and say “look, no deficit.”
But what has really happened is not so easy to quantify. The necessary savings have been made by withholding the funds allocated for patient care, thus denying sick people the best treatments.
Every winter there is an upsurge of new cases presenting themselves to doctors’ surgeries and hospitals. People get sicker quicker in winter. Wisely the government has always put money aside for this peak in demand. Not this year though, saving New Labour’s Bacon and Hewitt’s sorry arse are much more important than preserving life and alleviating suffering in a world ruled by the tyranny of the bottom line.

Read about my experiences at the hands of the NHS bureaucracy. A Stroke OF Luck was published in the USA a few years ago and sold a few thousand before the publishers shut up shop (not my fault, honest.)
There is some strong language in the book but very little, it does not warrant the Adult Content warning Authorsden puts on it.

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