11 April 2008

Health In Coventry

This past Wednesday, there was a public meeting, held at Methodist Central Hall, by GPs concerned about the government plans for polyclinics.

The Coventry Telegraph:

In Coventry, the primary care trust is looking at introducing a new GP-led health centre, in the Hillfields area, and two new GP practices in Stoke Aldermoor and Foleshill, all of which could be run by the private sector.

Dr Monoj Pai, chair of the Coventry Local Medical Committee (LMC) said the proposals would be a "body blow" for patients and said they were "destined to destroy" traditional general practice.

Dr Jamie Macpherson, a GP and secretary of the LMC, said: "We held this meeting to try and give information to the public about what we perceive is a real threat to GPs in this country at the moment, "The public are concerned with the threat of privatisation because they feel their needs would become secondary to the company's need for profit."
As Lord Darzi's proposls currently stand, the Green Party is not in favour of polyclinics. Darzi has linked the idea to part or full-privatisation. It also seems to be an idea where the same amount of butter (GPs and hospitals) is spread over more bread (GPs, polyclinics, hospitals).

The idea of local delivery of healthcare is a key element of Green Party policy, and if polyclinics came with additional funding, as an "additional layer of care" within urban healthcare, yes, we'd be in favour. But it's not.

You can look for yourself at profiles, ward-by-ward, on the Coventry Primary Care Trust website.

In Foleshill, for instance, the profile states:

"infant health is poorer than for the rest of the city, both in terms of death rate and small for dates babies ... the average age of death is one of the lowest in the city, particularly for males [and] the situation is worsening."
If we had a health care system oriented around prevention:

- We would see junk food in supermarkets, read the e-numbers on the ingredients, and see that it leads to hyperactivity and hard-to-handle youth.

- To help infants before they get sick, we need a nationalised childcare network, with well-paid unionised trained staff.

- We need to treat obesity before it reaches the NHS two decades from now, in the form of diabetes and heart problems (an emphasis on youth sport).

- We should gear things like bowel cancer screening, and breast cancer screening, to the communities that need it the most.

Members of the South Asian community are only half as likely to take up an invitation for bowel cancer screening and 15 per cent less likely to attend breast cancer screening than members of the non-Asian community.
- We have to look at a car going down the street, and see the 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK that are down to two air pollutants - ozone and PM 2.5. If 40 000 people died in a terrorist attack, we'd notice, but we ignore what's in front of us.


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