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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Blog 32. N.H.S & the Condom of Common Sense

No – it’s not the latest offering from J.K.Rowling or a new Indiana Jones film.

The N.H.S is in mortal danger from the rampant virus of feral Capitalism. The only prophylactic which stands any chance of saving her is The Condom of Common Sense.

O.K., bear with me – you know it usually pans out in the end.

Simple common sense is both overstated rhetorically by politicians and vastly under-used when policy is being formed. Elected officials glaze over in ecstasies of self importance when making extravagant claims about the difficulties of finding answers. The dramatic natures of problems vie with the delicious complexity of any possible solution is as prime reason why nothing sensible happens. Let me share quick analogy (if you’re not already reeling from the opening metaphor).

Many years ago I had reason to be driving a large, old, red and rusted ex-council transit van. Unexpectedly a small portion of the key snapped off in the ignition rendering the van un-drivable. Without funds for a trained mechanic, advice was sought from someone who knew a great deal more about vehicles than I did. There followed much humming and shaking of the head, frowning and peering into the gloom of the cab, some tutting and more shaking of the head. The conclusion was that the van could and should be rendered operable by smashing the steering column. Despite nervous protestations, it proved impossible to dampen enthusiasm for this plan once it gained purchase. The yanking and smashing, thumping and general vehicle brutalisation began. The whole van rocked alarmingly and – if it could’ve spoken – the van would, I’m sure, have been screaming in agony and complaint. The smasher, sweating profusely, eventually had to take a rest and also go in search of larger, heavier implements with which to recommence destruction. (He did not depart with the words “I’ll be back” – but he could have done).

In the interim, I dashed into my little flat and with sudden inspiration found myself rooting round in my sewing basket. There I procured two needles. While the smasher was weighing up sledgehammers, wrenches and other instruments of ruin, I snuck out to the van. With the concentration of the desperate, I managed after a few minutes to extricate the shard of key from the ignition.

Sometimes even when the patient is large and red, old and a bit knackered and the problem seems to require brute force – the solution may be simple and elegant – involving very little cost, very little violence. The solution, if carefully or inspirationally conceived need not cause damage greater than the original problem.

So – the N.H.S.

I have listened with increasing incredulity over the last few months as crises (some caused by the politicians now putting forward the idiotic schemes) are met with ridiculous, complex, costly, mind-numbingly stupid proposals. From more convoluted private funding and targets to farting round yet again with the training of nurses when fundamentally it is top down that the problems are emanating.

And here is the simple, elegant solution – the equivalent of the two small needles, powered by the concentration and determination to deal with the difficulty at the heart.

No one, absolutely no one should be able to make any decisions about the National Health Service at any level for any function of the service at any time however important or trivial if they themselves have private health insurance.


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