Friday, 4 March 2011

This government would sell your blood - no really it would

I actually thought this wasn't true when I first saw it.  I rarely blog twice in one day.  Recently more like twice a week.

But Andrew Lansley really, really is thinking that it would be a good idea to sell off all or part of NHS Blood and Transplant.  To a private company.  There's a thought piece by the Cheif Executive of the Anthony Nolan trust about it.

In the Labour group office at the council someone has pinned up a really old caricature which shows some 1990s Tory (I forget which) saying "The NHS is safe with us, the NHS is in Michael Howard's veins".  Inevitably Michael Howard is shown as a vampire in the background.
I don't doubt David Cameron is genuine when he says he appreciates the NHS, no parent wouldn't be.  But this policy is at best dangerously misguided.  The piece from the Anthony Nolan Trust saya:

"Firstly, what will be the impact on individuals when they are asked to donate blood when a company will make a profit from that donation? Will there be a move to allow payments to be made to donors, raising the overall costs and removing the philanthropy from the act of donation? 
...Privatisation of something so essential also demands cast iron assurance of quality and safety standards through regulations and inspections. As a charity handling human tissues, we’re subject to a rigorous regulation regime, but we don’t have a profit motive that conflicts with that drive for quality and safety. Furthermore, if foreign companies are to bid for NHSBT, to what extent will we be increasing the acquisition of blood from territories where we don’t get to choose how often or how thoroughly laboratories and facilities are inspected, even if their regulations are harmonised with our own?"
 Well that puts it rather less hysterically than I might have done.  But my big question is who voted for this?  I don't remember it being in anyone's manifesto, I think if I'd asked the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates "Will you privatise the NHS, including the National Blood and Transplant Service?" they'd have said no, or would they?

No wonder the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are losing ground.  It's bad for politics in general though.  Perhaps it starts to explain why UKIP trounced both of them in the Barnsley By-election?

However back to the matter at hand.  Here is a link to the petition again.  I seem to be constantly signing petitions against silly ideas at the moment.

What's next?  I tried really hard to think of a mad policy the government could produce that I could mock here e.g.  "A petition to stop the government from taking disabled people's wheelchairs?"
But then I remembered they are already planning to cut mobility allowance for severely disabled people, so perhaps not an appropriate suggestion.  This government seems determined to go beyond hyperbole, surely some thing's got to give.

(I should disclose for full honesty that I don't give blood.  I've tried to twice and both times I didn't fill the bag.  As soon as I am medically allowed to again I'm going to try one more time.  My husband gives regularly but always requires much pampering afterwards.)