Editor’s View: Shake-ups or milkshakes – take your decide


It may need handed you by because it was a reasonably low key
affair, however final week the President of the US, Donald Trump, visited
the UK on an official state go to.

Whereas the inevitable shouts about “we shouldn’t roll out the purple carpet” for President Trump had been, erm, rolled out by the same old suspects, there have been additionally individuals arduous at work making, advertising, packaging, delivering and promoting milkshakes.

And but because the President was welcomed by the Queen, a few of these milkshakes weren’t drunk and loved, however tossed left, proper and centre (nicely, tossed centre and proper), as the craze boiled over from protestors demanding, amongst different issues, that President Trump and US corporations “hold their arms off Our NHS”.

President Trump was requested at a press convention if
healthcare can be “on the desk” in any future commerce negotiations between the
UK and the US. He adopted up a considerably nonchalant “all the things is” reply a
day later with a qualification that the NHS itself wouldn’t be up for
negotiation – simply the supply of services and products to it.

It’s hardly information. In spite of everything, it’s virtually 20 years since Alan Milburn, a Labour Well being Secretary – sure, a Labour one – signed a Concordat with the impartial healthcare sector, opening the door to in depth non-public sector provision of companies to the NHS.

Stating that “There must be no organisational or ideological boundaries to the supply of top of the range healthcare free on the level of supply to those that want it, once they want it,” the 2000 Concordat kicked off an period, nonetheless alive and kicking, the place the NHS turns repeatedly to the non-public sector to clear ready lists.

That Concordat can be “the beginning not the top of a extra constructive relationship [with the independent sector]” and the “NHS would now discover the potential for additional collaboration with the non-public sector in such areas as pathology, imaging and dialysis, and be a part of the NHS in commissioning analysis and improvement in ‘new centres of excellence’”.

The association signifies that right now one in each fourteen
operations carried out on behalf of the NHS is carried out by the non-public sector.

So, virtually 20 years have handed and the impartial sector continues to be quietly going about its enterprise, treating individuals that might in any other case be caught on a NHS ready record in ache, discomfort and frustration.

Not that any of that issues, although, as we are actually within the period of the milkshake. We reached peak-milkshake throughout President Trump’s go to when a pro-Trump protestor was surrounded by a mob of indignant protestors, one in all whom (an grownup) threw a milkshake (model not but identified) at him (a semi-retired grandfather). Issues had taken a flip for the sillier, if that was even attainable.

Alongside this explicit milkshake tosser was a girl snarling on the President, calling him “Nazi scum”. Satirically, that woman – you couldn’t make it up – labored for a personal firm that gives companies to the NHS.

However after an equally thick-headed marketing campaign from pro-Trump followers involving the compulsory on-line petition – there at all times needs to be a petition lately (it solely takes a click on in spite of everything) – the woman in query issued a grovelling apology on Twitter, then deleted it, after which resigned from her job.

Fairly how we obtained into this ridiculous state of affairs stays past motive. Screaming “Nazi!” at people who aren’t, nicely, Nazis, is clearly absurd; however so is being hounded out of employment, as this woman was.

Then there was a sudden calm, as President Trump left the UK, with the streets of London and different cities throughout the nation strewn with infantile placards and puerile garbage dumped by carefree protestors, and most of the people getting on with their lives in a state of apathy or bemusement. The President hopped onto Air Power One at Southampton Airport because it waited patiently within the runway queue, simply behind the following Easyjet flight to Alicante, and off he went.

So, post-milkshake, the place can we go from right here? Some want to see completely no US involvement in healthcare provision or funding within the UK. Satirically, they’re usually reluctant to “purchase British” whereas additionally placing ahead impassioned pleas to defend the rights of healthcare employees from abroad (sure, even these from the US) to work within the NHS. In addition they clearly purchase milkshakes from, erm, sure giant US quick meals chains. Burger King’s try to capitalise on the milkshake insanity – a particular supply in Scotland was tweeted out through the President’s go to by the quick meals large – was crude however fairly apposite.

Equally, although, the extra excessive free marketeers would really like
to dismantle the NHS altogether and implement an unadulterated US-style
insurance coverage mannequin. The concept of that form of in a single day repair is for the birds.

And but I nonetheless don’t know who is true. However I do know that
the non-public healthcare sector, together with US companies, is greater than prepared and
in a position to co-operate with the general public sector to enhance healthcare outcomes for
your complete – sure, your complete – inhabitants. Is working collectively such a foul
factor? And is even speaking about it off limits? 20 years after the Concordat
was signed, it appears to be.

However the binary alternative of both/or can be for the birds. We
dwell in a combined, world economic system and transferring to an easy US mannequin and
eliminating the NHS altogether can be throwing the child out with the
bathwater. Equally, pinning unicorn hopes on an entirely public sector answer with
limitless, poorly managed funds, is futile.

I hoped that the go to of President Trump may need
opened up a rational debate about the way forward for healthcare funding within the UK.
It didn’t. It simply ended up in adults throwing milkshakes at one another.

In an equally unedifying spectacle, the candidates for the
subsequent management of the Conservative Celebration – and subsequently the following Prime
Minister – have all been desperately elbowing one another out of the way in which in an
undignified, even cowardly, scramble to proclaim that the NHS is “not for

In fact it’s not. However isn’t there room for a debate about funding
and provision? Apparently not, even within the eyes of potential Prime Ministers who
imagine privately that healthcare provision and funding within the UK is in want of
a radical overhaul.

It’s illogical; US healthcare suppliers and insurers are
right here already. If something, they’re a menace – or maybe a welcome problem –
extra to incumbent home non-public medical insurance coverage suppliers than to “Our
NHS”. Refusing to have a dialogue with them is silly.

Not solely that. Throwing milkshakes at them can be doltish
and embarrassing.

And a decadent waste of milkshake.


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