Cameron constantly accuses Ed Miliband of ' weaponising' the NHS as a hot topic of debate leading up to the General Election in May. So out of touch is the PM and his sidekicks from what the electorate feel, they actually think that Miliband and Labour will be offended by the term 'weaponising' and the public will react by seeing the Tory viewpoint.
It doesn't matter whether you are middle class or working class - the NHS is beloved by a cross section of the public, so beloved we even had the NHS featured in the opening of the Olympic Games ceremony in London in 2012.
Our NHS always suffers when it is in Tory hands and this time around has suffered intolerably at the hands of the ConDems. Ed Miliband is right to weaponise it. He is right to follow in Nye Bevans footsteps for as Nye said 'the NHS will only last as long as their are folk left with the faith to fight for it'. To me weaponising the topic of free healthcare for all is just a mild start! The ConDems promised no top down re-organisation of the NHS, but have spent millions doing just that, the ConDems promised that there would be more doctors, more nurses more midwives yet staff are crying openly on wards unable to cope with the sheer numbers of patients to staff ratios. Ambulances are queuing up for hours outside hospitals with dangerously ill people in them, all waiting for a bed to become available. Tents have been erected in hospital grounds to treat patients.Cameron points the finger at socialist Wales and our NHS here, yet is the author of austerity and a hugely slashed budget for Wales in Westminster, Jeremy Hunt the Tory Health Secretary admitted himself it took so long to get a GP appointment he brought his own child to A+E to be treated instead! What further evidence is needed to flash up the red light ' The current system is not working' under this abysmal coalition government.
Andy Burnham and Labour have an answer that can be put into practice if Labour win in May. A joined up health care system. If bed blocking is occuring in hospital, most often because elderly patients will not be accepted into nursing homes due to the level of care they require, Labour will unite the NHS to team up with social services and take a whole approach to problems arising. It appears simple, but will require a full scale change to ensure the service is working to its full potential and not being undermined at every level by an NHS working separately from its partners. An holistic approach is terribly needed. Burnham is wholeheartedly committed to it.
Our NHS is free. Something those of us born after 1948, with no recollection of what life was like when you had to pay to see a doctor and pay for medicine, take quite often for granted or as our British 'right'. That is fine when we have a Labour government in power. We are then reassured that the NHS is in safe hands and free at the point of need, whether that be A+E or our GP. But what would happen if come the General Election in May we woke up with a Tory government, or indeed a Con-Kip coalition which is more likely? I've heard it on the doorsteps and whilst phoning the electorate ' I used to vote Tory/Labour but I am voting Ukip in May'. Almost 100% of the time this is due to worries concerning immigration and no other issue. I ask voters to look beyond immigration and ask them what the NHS would be like under Nigel Farage and Ukip. The Ukip manifesto is currently in mayhem as it has not been completed in time, but Farage himself spoke out this week on the Ukip plan for the NHS.
Farage wants to bring in USA style private medical insurance. He said 'State funded Health Service needs to be replaced with a Private Insurance Model.' This will mean the end of our free NHS for all. I'd like to emphasise 'FOR ALL'. This means you could be sat next to an MP, a banker, a Lord as you sit in A+E, where everyones emergencies suddenly become an equaliser in health. The same doctors and nurses in the NHS bandage us all up, regardless of ability to pay or class. This would be erased under Ukip. In America those who have no private insurance and can't afford it are sent to 'Ghetto hospitals' the like of which we do not want to see darken our shores in the UK.
Ask yourself this: Is your precious vote in May going to be used as a lame protest vote that could ultimately destroy our free medical care - our NHS? Will you kick yourself when you are handing over £10 to see a GP? Will you be in so much distress about where to find the money to pay for your long term health condition like asthma, and think back to that silly wasted protest vote for Ukip?
Nigel Farage and his kind are chancers. Ukip is the 'rice pudding party'. Once you get past the crust of the laddish charmer on top that is Farage, you have an interior of mad, sad and bad individuals that Farage is trying desperately to keep in line. Hours after Farage spoke about the need for private health insurance replacing the free NHS service, the Ukip Health spokesperson Louise Bours said Ukip as a party 'reject that idea'. But Ukip is Farage. He alone decides what policies the party commit to and private health insurance is one of them.
As for Cameron and his cronies they are privatising and selling off chunks of the NHS to their mates. The blood service has been privatised and lots more to follow. We have in the Tories privatisation of the NHS by the back door. The Tories like to be seen as cleverer than Ukip and a lot more slippery. They lie to our faces about protecting the NHS then simply go ahead and privatise it anyway.
So as I sit and read the powerful testimony by Harry Smith - a soon to be 92 year old- who grew up when we had no free health system, I can only be moved when he talks about how his sister died from TB as there was no NHS and no free healthcare and his stark warning - 'Don't let my past be your future'.
Our free NHS for all - weaponise it, shout for it, fight for it, vote for it! For our own sake don't let us lose it!