A couple of weeks ago Conservative Home asked for readers to post up any questions they may have had for Andrew Lansley, Shadow Secretary of State for Health.
Here was mine:
“A recent report from the NHS Confederation stated that devolution has created four different NHS systems in Britain.
Do you agree, and if so, how would you attempt to remedy the obvious inequities arising from this situation?”
"Jake" later expanded on my original and this was the question finally posed to Mr Lansley:
There are now effectively 4 separate NHS's. The NHS's of Scotland , Wales and NI have their own governments to shout for them plus they have a loud say in the British government. The English NHS has no representative body and is left to the cynical mercies of the British government which is dominated and led by Scots committed by oath to the paramountcy of Scotland eg Brown and Darling.
What are you and your party planning to do about this fundamental discrimination against England?
Andrew Lansley’s answer:
I agree that the NHS in England has been subject to the cynical mercies of the Labour Government. However, health is a devolved issue and more expenditure does not mean better outcomes. The disappointing reality is that right across the NHS we are not getting value for money. In England, we spend the European average on healthcare but the outcomes - for example five-year cancer survival rates – are amongst the worst. We need to increase efficiency and improve outcomes, that’s why we brought forward the NHS Autonomy and Accountability White Paper.
I don’t how Jake feels about that response, but to me it’s complete cop-out.
It’s exactly because "health is a devolved issue", when it should never have been, that we now have effectively four health services. It’s because health is a "devolved issue", that there are fundamental differences in the level of basic "service" provided, depending on which of the four NHS’ jurisdictions you happen to find yourself. Yes, by all means, increase efficiency and "outcomes" "across the board", but that still wouldn’t remove the inequities that the "devolution" of health will always inevitably deliver.
A National Health Service should mean just that, a Health Service for all the nation and you have the right to expect equal and fair treatment wherever you may live in that nation