Friday, 27 August 2010

It's not just us

   My last day here, thus my last day being annoyed by the squeakings and fumings of the Express as I make my morning coffee. And this morning's headline is a cracker to go out on, with surprising relevance in our little corner of the world. "NHS squanders millions on fat surgery". Seems we're not the only group targeted by people who consider life-changing surgery to be unnecessary. On the front page version of the story they preface it with "As cancer patients are denied vital drugs...", presumably referring to another recent story about an NHS decision not to fund a bowel cancer drug because of its marginal benefit.
    I find it particularly offensive, the notion that some NHS patients are more deserving than others. Particularly the idea that a cancer patient who smoked twenty a day all their life or ate the wrong diet that increased their risk of bowel cancer is more deserving than an obese person who has been unable to control their weight through diet or exercise (Surgery is an option of last resort for these people so it's a given that they *will* have tried everything else first!). Or than a transsexual whose only "sin" is to have been born with the wrong brain for their body, for that matter. The founding principles of the NHS are pretty clear on this: that good healthcare should be available to all, no matter what's up with them. End of.
    It's interesting to observe the parallel between the attitudes towards the obese and those towards the trans community. Both are pilloried for apparently tying up NHS resources that could be used for the so-called more deserving patients, yet both have medical problems that can take them out of the workplace and cause them to cost the State far more than their NHS treatment ever would. No doubt the Express and their ilk would complain about benefits being paid to either group, too.
    My headline for the day? "Hundreds of thousands squander 50p daily on ink-wasting layabouts"!


  1. It is hard to stay calm when members of the media and political parties, people who can have a real effect on the way people are treated act either in ignorance or in some cases in full understanding of the error of their thinking. I am reminded now of Ken Mehlman of the Republican Party of my neighbours to the south who participated in his party's retrogressive policy making and has now come out as a member of the gay community.

    Shouting wrong and hurtful ideas that sell papers and gets votes can and should come back to bite these people more often.

    Ink wasting layabouts indeed! Good Post Jenny!


  2. after that recent thing about middle class people not thinking that speeding should be a crime because that is the sort of thing that middle class people do, you got me thinking that the most acceptable sort of surgical intervention, from the Express' point of view, would be that which fixes the bodily malaises to which the denizens of Mittelengland are prone.

    However, Googling 'middle class diseases' just turned up shoplifting and smugness. I suppose you could cut hands off for the former, and heads off for the latter. I'm sure that this sort of intervention carried out on Express journalists would improve the general quality of life.

  3. @Halle: I'd not seen that story, that's quite a coming-out! We've had our share of Tories-who-turn-out-to-be-gay here, but it's such a non-event these days as to be almost more noteworthy when one turns out *not* to be gay. Over There though, and to have been the architect of their marriage policy though, that takes some beating!

    @Dru: Shoplifting and smugness, like it! I'm not convinced there is much a surgeon could do beyond a lobotomy to fix an Express reader. Or their writers, for that matter. Is the Richard Desmond empire staffed with people who write this rubbish every day and then go home to cry into their pillows in shame?

  4. I confess to occasionally reading the Wail/Express/MurdochTimes, but try and avoid inhaling. Or spending the 50p - once a week in a cafe is normally enough of a fix :)

    I guess all media is sold with a pitch and plays to its audience? Thats where the money is.

    Doesn't do much to help in changing societies prejudices, does it, though?