Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dear Philip Lee, MP for Bracknell...

I saw your video link where you were talking about the cost of prescriptions that people get for free for conditions such as Hypertension and Type II Diabetes which you say are ‘predominantly to do with lifestyle’. I beg your pardon?  Ah, so people choose to have Diabetes and Hypertension, thanks for telling us, Mr Lee.  I had hypertension at the young of age eighteen and of course that must have been ‘a lifestyle choice’ - silly me.  Can you also tell me why you all bandy these mantras about?  I'm hearing so much about this 'lifestyle choice', it sounds so sweet and innocuous, as if we're choosing between a relaxing life in the sun or perhaps a world cruise.  Make it sound like a choice and you can then get away with blaming the individual for their obesity, addiction, and now – increasingly – other conditions.  Isn't that the real reason behind such a phrase, Mr Lee?  Isn't it just a euphemism for saying it's all your fault? And I heard you describe these debilitating illnesses - Hypertension and Type II Diabetes - and by association the people who suffer from them - as ‘an increasing burden on the National Health Service’. (The 'burden’ word again – the same rhetoric that was used in pre-war Germany, let us remember).  You go on to talk about 'moving the locus of that responsibility for health care from the state to the individual'. What you really mean is making people with these conditions pay for their drugs. By doing that you would, in your words, be ‘attaching a consequence to lifestyle choice’. (You couldn't resist that phrase again, could you?) But you didn't finish it there - you went on to talk about the  ‘differences in generations in their attitude towards arthritic pain’.  You praise the wartime generation – as if somehow they have no need for the NHS and its services.  But you give away your real agenda which is that when the ‘incredibly stoic… wartime generation have passed on…with their attitude towards their lives, their pain, their suffering that appears to be significantly different to their children’ the shit will really hit the fan.  Your real fear is when ‘that huge number’ of  baby-boomer children – that group born between 1945 and 1955 hit their 70s and 80s between 2015 and 2030. ‘Their expectations, their demands upon the system are going to be immense,’ you say.  Excuse me?  Well, I don’t quite fit into that Baby Boomer group, not by your definition at any rate, Mr Lee, but watch out, matey. There are all those of us born in the late 50s, 60s and 70s who expect good health and longevity, and what, pray, is wrong with that?  You seem to be bemoaning the fact that the NHS has been successful in achieving greater longevity and alleviation of pain, rather than celebrating its achievements.  And for your information, Mr Lee, my parents are both of that wartime generation. My late father had Type II Diabetes and was certainly glad of the NHS for his treatments.  My mother too, is of that generation, and certainly she is stoic, but does that mean she shouldn’t be relieved of any pain and suffering?  That she should put up and shut up?  She is actually furious about what is happening to the NHS.  
I find your tone and implications extremely worrying.

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