The Good Doctor’s Blog: The poor NHS and the European Referendum

Blogspot: Dr Emil Shehadeh

IN the frenzied Brexit public debate, it has been claimed that an "out" vote would free some British contributions to the EU, and that these billions of pounds could be spent on our NHS, if our own government, free of the constraints of unelected European bureaucrats, chooses to do so. It has also been argued that if we left the EU, we would be able to control our borders and have our own immigration policies, thus reducing pressure on the HNS. There is truth in both points. Sadly, however, the discussion has veered away from sovereignty, and concentrated on the all-consuming subject of money.

The "in" campaign has concentrated on trying to persuade the British public that to vote "out" is to cut our life-giving umbilical cord from mother EU. They speak as if trade was invented by the EU, and that Britain were a new nation which had never done any trading before we joined the EU. They seem to forget that it is not long ago that we ruled a huge part of this planet and traded with every conceivable nation on earth.

Further, the "in" campaign give the impression that to leave the EU would involve the employment of huge and powerful ocean liners which will tow the British Isles away into the middle of the ocean, where no one wants to do business with us. They behave like bullies in a school playground who will ensure no one plays with you unless you do their bidding. Apparently, if we were to leave the EU, we would fail to sell our Jags and Range Rovers abroad, and the Germans would not want to sell us their Merc.s Audis BMWs and Porsches!!!

To add insult to injury, the Goliath that is the EU has recruited powerful national and international figures from politics and the world of banking and finance to spread their lies. Apparently the EU has given us the longest peaceful period in our history! No mention of this country’s great history of policing Europe for centuries. We kept the balance of power in Europe for eons, and by fighting two world wars, saved Europe and the world, twice over, from tyranny, coming from the heart of Europe. Is it possible that what the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon and Hitler have failed to retain by force, the EU aspires to achieve by fanning the flames of financial fears and falsehoods?

What has Europe done for our NHS? More funding? Never. Stupid rules and regulations? Always and more by the minute. We are not allowed to employ foreign health workers from outside the EU unless we can demonstrate that the EU cannot supply such labour. The result has been two disasters:

Firstly, it has lulled our governments into a false sense of security, complacency is more accurate a term, with respect to doctors and nurses. Little effort has been made to train, or improve the career prospects of doctors and nurses. Why? Because we can always get them from Europe, on lower pay. In some regions, we are struggling to fill training vacancies for GPs by a huge percentage. When I trained, I had to compete with thirty doctors for every training position. That is how popular a career general practice was. Now we are scouring the country for takers!

The second problem is that as intelligent and excellent as they might be, many EU health professionals lack the linguistic and social skills mandatory for them to render effective service in the UK. They are far worse alternatives to our colonial colleagues. Yet they are given priority over the better suited doctors and nurses from New Zealand and Australia, thus causing injury and loss to the NHS.

Oh yes, we get relatively more funding from the EU for research. But let us not be too shy about it. The UK has some of the best brains in the world, and the EU has invested well. They are not exactly doing us a favour. If I recall rightly, when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the EU had not even been conceived. Did the EU fund the discovery of Aspirin or the ultrasound as an investigative tool, or anaesthetics, all discovered by British doctors and scientists?! I am proud that despite our governments’ investing little in research, and paying low wages to academicians, we continue to produce some of the most amazing inventions and discoveries in the world. Boy, am I proud of being British!

I have no doubt that leaving the EU would save us money, which could be ploughed into the NHS. The question is whether it will be. Our governments, regardless of colour, have all boasted of a world class NHS. Nonsense. Utter hollow pride. The NHS is far from world class. To wait 18 weeks for your first appointment is third world class.

Our European neighbours spend 9% of their GDP on health. We, the fifth largest economy in the world, spend a miserly 6% of our GDP on health. The NHS is vastly underfunded. Yet we continue to fail to control immigration and put an additional strain on the NHS. Somehow being in the EU has not improved the level of investment in our health, and has increased demand and will increase it further through their idiotic immigration policies.

For all the above reasons, I am "out".

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