Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Killer costs

I've seen first hand the effects of an asthma attack - the desperate gasps for breath, the terror in the eyes. Asthma can be a killer, but fortunately one which can treated. So today's news that financial worries causes some people to think twice about using their preventers should be a warning for us all.

Many people who suffer long-term illnesses like diabetes receive free prescriptions, but most asthma sufferers have to pay. However, this inconsistent approach is unlikely to be resolved by this or the next government, given the huge numbers being bandied around about budget cuts. Some interesting chronic euphemismia from David Halpern (along with David Miliband one of Blair's Third Way architects) is worthy of note:
"Billions of public spending can be saved, for instance, if services for those with chronic conditions like diabetes are redesigned around self-care."
As we've seen today with the asthma study, self care begins to fail when cash becomes tight.

Both the Tories and Labour will choose to target cuts in areas which won't affect their vote negatively, aiming to keep the affluent and middle class South East voter happy. That means the disenfranchised who are less likely to vote or whose votes have little demographic influence, like those on low incomes, will be hit hardest. And with an NHS hemorrhaging cash as a result of the failure of the Tory and then Labour PFI con job, it's likely that healthcare will take a big hit.

Whilst business, like the banking and motoring industries are being feather-bedded, chances are that those hardest hit will be those who most need essential services like socialised healthcare.

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