Wednesday, 3 July 2013

HnH attack UKIP health policy - what does this have to do with racism or fascism, and why do Smeeth & Lowles find alcoholism funny?

Hope not Hate have just posted an attack on a statement by UKIP Health Spokesman John Stanley, a surgeon and UKIP candidate, as part of their 'Purple Rain - putting UKIP under the magnifying glass' series.

Nick Lowles - finds alcohol
dependency funny
Stanley had earlier released some thoughts on how to shorten NHS waiting times particularly in A&E departments and this has included the option of patients paying to be seen where they had been triaged by a clinician as 'non-urgent' cases.

HnH have reposted an article which first appeared on the 'Left Foot Forward' blog which simply outlined the policy proposal, although Lowles couldn't help but add several snide digs at UKIP which don't appear in the original article.

We take no position on whether UKIPs suggested approach is right or wrong: that is not our purpose. Equally, interfering in debates on health policy does not appear to be Hope not Hate's purpose either, unless there is some racial dimension we have missed. It seems to us that if HnH wish to enter into a debate on healthcare and the NHS, they should have some proposals of their own to offer.

Ruth Smeeth - doesn't care that 21.8%
of A&E admissions are drug or alcohol
The main purpose of HnH was to rubbish suggestions that people presenting at A&E with alcohol related problems should be made to pay for their own treatment. Although HnH find this uproariously funny and suggest that several UKIP MEPs would end up forking out, had they bothered to think before publishing they would have discovered that according to a report by the NHS Confederation, a 4 month study at St James University Hospital in Leeds showed that 21.8% of admissions via A&E were alcohol related. The report further states that in a trial at St Mary's Hospital, London, a test - the Paddington Alcohol Test - was used on patients believed to be presenting with alcohol related conditions and this resulted in 46% seeking treatment for alcohol addiction problems.

Alcohol and drug additions are serious and growing problems for the NHS. Hope not Hate may find them hilariously funny and useful as nothing more than a political football, but we see precious little sign of HnH offering any positive solutions, only plenty of mockery about a condition which is not funny, and which neither they, their Labour paymasters nor their union bosses are interested in dealing with.

If Nick Lowles, Ruth Smeeth and their friends want to play at serious politics, perhaps they should come up with some alternative policies? At least then they could offer some hope to those who are suffering. Meanwhile, John Stanley - who as a surgeon has first hand experience of these problems - should be applauded for trying to find a workable solution which reduces the misery of those in the iron grip of such addictions.


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