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Friday, 22 November 2013

Question Time: the NHS Is still in Chaos

Question Time presenter David Dimbleby

Have you seen Question Time on BBC1 tonight? Among the panelists was Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

They talked about the NHS (National Health Service), welfare, pensions, youth unemployment, housing crisis. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it on BBC iPlayer online.

Interesting points have been:
  • the idea of forcing owners to sell or develop property on unused land seems popular (although some people would probably forcibly impose developing, which seems to me communist-style; the idea of a tax on unused land or brownfield sites to make owners sell or develop is better).
  • the average age of people buying a property these days is 38 years (apparently higher than in the past), which many find too high. I disagree: probably the average age was too low before. It’s not necessary for everyone to own a house, as it’s not necessary for everyone to go to university: these are wrong ideas of equality and set the wrong targets to achieve for many people.
  • nothing very interesting was said about the NHS, reflecting the fact that they haven’t got a clue about how to solve its problems. However, despite what I had read about the drop in number of nurses, an audience member said that their number is probably the same, only their job names have changed from “sister” to “manager”. Another attendee correctly observed that hospitals in the news like the Mid-Staffordshire hospitals - where, in the 3 years from 2005 to 2008, between 400 and 1,200 more patients died than would have been expected - have neglected their patients because they were more worried about meeting government targets than about sick people in their care. This is true, and confirms my idea that it is not the function and within the nature of the state to manage the health care of a country.
  • nobody obviously mentioned immigration. The term was pronounced once by a woman who was discussing a different subject and didn’t actually talk about immigration at all, but using the “i” word once was enough for the audience to boo her.
  • about youth unemployment, an elderly gentleman made the observation that he bought his first property at 33, and he could do so because he was prepared to move to where the jobs were. I believe that his point is valid, the welfare state has made unemployed people unwilling to move with the jobs.
  • the government’s proposals of making people below 25 not eligible for benefits were covered, obviously disliked by the Lefties and the young in both panel and audience. There was also talk of removal of certain entitlements like free bus passes from pensioners.

Photo by eye dropper (Creative Commons CC BY-ND 2.0).

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