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The National Health Service, established in 1948, was designed to provide the nation with the highest level of medical care that the population could afford through taxation. It set out two guiding principles: firstly, that the service should be comprehensive, with all citizens receiving advice, treatment, medication and care, combined with the best medical facilities available: secondly, that the service should be freely available to the public at the point of use.

The creation of NHS Trusts has not solved the problems that plagued the regional health authorities, and public perception is that these individual 'cost centres' are nothing more than a way of controlling spending, sometimes at the expense of patient care. Consultants, doctors and nurses are no longer able to make day to day decisions in respect of patient care without having to refer to financial budgets. Patient care should not be the subject of a 'post code lottery'; everyone should receive the same service wherever they live.

It is fair to say that the NHS will be a headache for any government, but it is an essential service and we have to continue to improve it until we get it right. Funding must be provided to maintain hospitals in areas where they are needed and not on the basis of an ideological vision of a short sighted government! It can be argued that we have the basis for providing the best health service that money can buy, but we need to concentrate our efforts and finances where they are needed most.

Good hygiene is crucial in maintaining the health of patients in hospitals. There is a strong argument to revert back to directly employing 'in house' cleaners rather than cleaning companies; if this were the case would we see an end to such incidents as MRSA and C. dif? Do we need to go back to the 'old' system where highly motivated and experienced Matrons control the day to day running of the hospitals, providing a focal point of responsibility and an interface between medical and administrative personnel?

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© Campaign for Independent Politicians 2008

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