Yesterday I campaigned in Keston in the morning finishing up at Keston Village Stores where I had coffee with Deepak Aral and John Gamet (first photo). Deepak is a Gurkha and John was in the Royal Engineers. Thereafter I went briefly to join Mary and Brian Cooke selling poppies at Waitrose in Beckenham before continuing electioneering in Eden Park.
In the evening I went to the selection of a Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Orpington. Gareth Bacon, a good friend and currently Leader of the Conservatives on the London Assembly, was selected as the prospective Conservative MP for Orpington. I congratulate and welcome him to the fight.
On the media I am more than a little jarred off when hearing political opponents associates declaim that the Conservatives will mass privatise the NHS. Actually only just over 7 per cent of the NHS uses private services and that figure was already about 4.5 per cent when Labour ran the organisation in 2010. There has been no massive private takeover over the last 9 years. Where it is better for patients and cheaper for the NHS to use bought in services then why not? It is obviously in the interests of all of us.
Anyway much privatisation concerns matters like cleaning contracts but certainly some is also about clinical services. But again so what? In 1987 when I was badly hurt by a severe break of my hip in the Army the NHS sent me to Harley Street for what was a rather unique service in those days; a CT scan. The NHS did not have the facility, paid for that to happen and the findings were used to guide what happened to me. Personally I do not give a damn from where the finest medical treatment comes for those who are sick or broken. The NHS is absolutely right to employ private medicine where it is the best especially as it will cost the patient nothing.
Where the NHS is world beating is without doubt in life saving treatments like heart attacks. Here it beats private medicine hands down and nobody in their right mind thinks otherwise. Private facilities simply cannot compete with such treatments. Yet in some fields private medicine is a seriously valued add on to the NHS.
There is absolutely no intention by the Government to sell off the NHS. Ninety three per cent of NHS services are in-house. It is still a unique, wonderful and free for all medical treatment. But I wonder if some of those people who want the NHS to have nothing to do with privatisation would feel if their views stopped themselves having the best medical treatment without a cost to themselves?