The Health and Social Care Bill passing through UK’s Parliament is prompting heated debate, says Savi Hensman. The government claims that this and other reforms to the National Health Service (NHS) will improve patient care. Campaigners fear that they reflect further steps towards privatisation and a fragmented system, which they believe will be harmful to those in most need.
Shigeaki Hinohara, a Japanese Christian doctor who has carved out a reputation as an expert on healthy aging, marked his 100th birthday on 4 October 2011 by contemplating the potential for celebrating his 110th.
Even if the government is able to push its Health Bill through Parliament in its present form, there may be a heavy political price to pay later, says Savi Hensman. A different way forward is needed for the NHS.
Newspapers have reported that the UK government is to publish a ‘Big Society’ bill, supposedly giving citizens more choice and control. In practice, this may involve offloading further responsibilities on to individuals, families and communities, forcing them to put in extra time and money or go without much-needed services.