Can the last one leaving turn the lights out please?

If the headlines are to be believed we might as well just give up.

Labour peer Lord Warner has warned in a Lords’ debate that our NHS is ‘facing bankruptcy’ and we will not be able to cope with our aging population. He likened the NHS to 65-year-old pensioner that has lived beyond their means.

Meanwhile on the other side of the fence, health secretary Jeremy Hunt will address the National Children and Adults Service conference today (October 18) and outline that too many old people are left isolated in their own homes or needlessly placed in care because of society’s shameful failure to take care of our relatives.

So, which is it? Are we neglecting our aged or are they just an expense we can no longer fund?

Mr Hunt will even go as far as to suggest that we can learn from countries such as China on treating older people. My fingers are crossed he won’t go as far as to correlate this with the same country’s policy on controlling its population at the other end of the life-cycle.

I think both have a point, but I fear that both are spouting vote-gaining rhetoric rather than taking a root and branch approach – and it’s the root that surely needs addressing.

Let’s not give up and lets ensure the lights not only stay on but act as a beacon of best practice for national healthcare as set out when that 65-year-old pensioner entered this world at the same time as the NHS.

Our aged population cannot blame any lifestyle habits for their situation and therefore funding must remain in place to care for them. But we can work on managing obesity, smoking cessation, diet, alcohol and drug abuse and sexual health. All these can have knock on effects such as diabetes and heart, lung and liver problems which place a massive strain on the NHS purse.

And they need to be managed in our high street pharmacies, GP practices and by healthcare professionals not politicians.


Dean Enon