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Call me behind the times, but I am thoroughly enjoying catching up with “Breaking Bad” on Netflix. Actually, “enjoying” isn’t quite the right word; the drama is particularly gritty, and whilst very watchable, the injustice of the premise of the show often leaves me rather frustrated.
For those who haven’t seen or heard of the show, the basics of the story are that a perfectly normal chemistry teacher is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and to fund his treatment, he enters the criminal underworld of methamphetamine production and dealing. Now, I appreciate that this isn’t the most common way Americans fund their healthcare, but it is an undeniable fact that many are forced into great financial difficulty when they become ill; many being driven into poverty as they are bankrupted by medical bills.
Fortunately, when I find myself irked by the injustice of it all, I can remind myself that this August, I will begin working in the NHS – where healthcare is available free at the point of access. Had “Breaking Bad” been based on a British patient’s story, it would have been a somewhat less entertaining drama – the criminal thrills replaced with Walter, the main character, enjoying a cup of tea, or doing some gardening in between visits to clinic (if, of course, he feels up to it).
But surely that’s the way it should be for our patients – enabling them to concentrate on getting better. It is stressful enough having an illness, especially cancer, so let us be proud that our patients can at least be spared the financial burden of funding their care.
On reflection, the visceral sense of injustice I get when I hear of such stories from the USA verifies my belief that every patient has the RIGHT to the best possible healthcare and that the state has the moral RESPONSIBILTY to provide it – and I believe that this transcends economics. Whilst we must of course ensure that the NHS is sustainably funded, I feel it is wrong to treat patients’ health as if it were a commodity, to be bought and sold according to profit margins and not by health outcomes. Unfortunately, this is what the Health and Social Care Act is doing, right now. It is my belief that the act’s central theme is competition and not patient welfare. It is there that I believe the act is fundamentally flawed. It is from there that the damage being done stems from. It is for that reason I ask you to call for the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.
Sign the e-petition here.
Do doubt there are several reasons to wish for the repeal of the Health & Social Care Act, but beliefs that healthcare should transcend economics won't help the cause. The real world isn't always as we would wish but we have to live in it however much we'd like to transcend it.