I’m so used to the constant exaggerated rage that Philip Davies pretends to be in, over political correctness, Europe, saving lives in the third world or people earning the Minimum Wage, that when comments like this happen they’ve started to pass me by.
When asked by the Daily Mail on his thoughts of people getting NHS treatment for the breast implants they paid for privately, Davies said it would be ‘outrageous’ because it has ‘nothing to do with the NHS’ and they should pursue the costs of their treatment through the courts, i.e. go private and recoup the costs by suing the company. He went on to say that anyone who requires health care because of the mistakes of a private company should not receive it through the NHS.
As the writer says on This Is Cornwall, if you strike this pose ideologically then where does it stop?
Let’s actually think about what this means. If you do anything in life that involves purchasing a service or product from a private company, perhaps a bungee jump for instance, and end up injured because of a private company, in the opinion of Philip Davies you shouldn’t be eligible for NHS treatment. Instead you should presumably get private health care and take the company to court to get them to pay for it.
Davies talks as if he’s on the side of the taxpayer, but the fact is that taxpayer is the same person who needs NHS treatment. Those women who now have breast implants that might rupture are taxpayers too.
Does Davies really mean this? Does he really think it? It’s the logical conclusion to his remarks. He’s always maintained that he wants to see the NHS free at the point of use and is happy with private company involvement, though he always adds ‘as was Labour’s policy in government’ as a tediously obvious shot across the bow to anyone who gets in touch with him to criticise his party’s position on the NHS.
That said, that doesn’t explain what services he believes should be free at the point of use.
Again as the writer on This Is Cornwall says, the point of an NHS is that it takes care of all of us, and if Davies thinks there’s a difference between buying a boob job and buying a ticket on a roller coaster with regards the entitlement to subsequent NHS care if something goes wrong, then there seems to be an implicit distinction between the sort of person who gets a boob job and everyone else. That is not right. Just as someone who decides to go climbing, on a roller coaster or do pretty much anything that carries an inherent risk of injury that could require health care you either believe people should be able to receive that health care through the NHS or you think everyone should have to go private unless they can legitimately claim a sort of force majeure on the cause of their illness.
While I think there should be some form of recompense from the companies that performed the operations, either direct to the NHS or to the people who had the surgery, if Philip Davies really thinks anyone who needs health care after a mistake is made by a private company shouldn’t be able to get it on the NHS I would like to see him explain in detail exactly what sort of scenarios that involves. Currently it sounds like a lot of people would be plunged into debt while they took out private health care and sued a company to claim it back.
Perhaps he could then put it on his leaflets and we’ll see how many people in Shipley agree with his vision of the NHS.