Wales' NHS - It's All About the Money

Every day I walk my dog past a GP surgery before 8am - slowly, month by month, the number of people queuing outside at that time is growing, and they are now there all weathers. It's a bit shaming looking at sick people lined up in the rain, hopeful of an appointment; and each time I see it my own reflex conclusion is that we are collectively spending too much on skinny lattes, 4x4s and second homes - and not enough on health and social care. It matters because, as Aneurin Bevan said, "Not even the apparently enlightened principle of the 'greatest good for the greatest number' can excuse indifference to individual suffering. There is no test for progress other than its impact on the individual."

I thought yesterday I'd have a look about the internet to see why the queue is really there, and so often echoed elsewhere. It is a week or two old, but a few minutes into my search I got stuck re-reading this BBC article, in which Wales' Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, is reported to be shouting at the very internet I was mooching about, primarily for it being rude about the failings of the service he is responsible for.

Gething may well be doing a difficult job imaginatively (and I think he probably is), but, to be honest, when he is quoted as allegedly saying, "(there is a) ... real danger of a self-fulfilling prophecy, where reactionary criticism undermines the foundations of our positively public NHS", it seems slightly wide of the mark as to the real future risks the service faces.

Lack of political courage, over-centralised control, unmanaged demand and shifting demographics are conspiring against the disadvantaged and ill - but in the end examine the situation closely and money is always the core issue. It will be the rare politician who stands up and honestly admits we, as a nation, will have to find significantly more recurring investment in future to properly fund health and social care provision for those who need it, when they need it, who will have my vote; not one who goes looking for digital windmills to tilt at. In 2018 there should not be queues outside doctors' surgeries in Wales.