Typical disgraceful media reporting, typical saddening divides between voters, typical British weather! That’s right – Election time…
But what does the vote mean for UK society in terms of healthcare, social care and welfare? Those of us with invisible and/or chronic illnesses are quite rightly concerned with the budget cuts and proposed changes for the future. It’s a worrying time, and when we hear stories of how overwhelmed the NHS is, it’s a daunting prospect to think of what may happen. I’ve had so many negative experiences with the NHS over the years and the best part of my 20s was ruined because no one listened, no one cared, no one believed me. You’d think I wouldn’t care either way what happened or that I’d talk down the NHS, but I still fully believe it is a wonderful thing and something that needs to be both protected and nurtured.
I also fully believe that, whether you think politicians spin a load of lies or not, voting is important. It’s your time to speak up, to have a voice, to care, to make an impact on the future. The quiet feminist in me also thinks it is important to value and appreciate the long, hard fight women had to secure us the vote; don’t let that be for nothing.
Of course, what a politician says and what a politician does are usually two entirely different things. But it’s worth knowing what the main candidates stand for in terms of healthcare, social care and also welfare. It’s looking a lot like a vote between Conservatives and Labour, so here’s a very, very brief look at what they stand for :
- A new Mental Health Bill but with little detail on what this entails other than saying 10,000 more mental health workers will be recruited.
- An increase in NHS spending by £8 billion over the next 5 years. This is against the £22bn NHS STP plan cuts.
- Those with savings/property over £100,000 are to pay for their own social care.
- Those who get at-home care will be means tested.
- Winter Fuel Allowance will be means tested.
- There will be a limit to social care, but no figures on what this may be.
- NHS Investment and free hospital car parking. This includes £6bn p/year for the NHS
- Stop the £22bn NHS STP plan cuts.
- Reverse privatisation and bring the NHS back to the public control.
- A new Clean Air Act.
- A National Care Service for the elderly.
- Reversing some benefit cuts and increasing ESA by £30 p/week.
- Extra dosh for social care to the tune of £1.5bn p/year.
- Getting rid of the public sector pay cap.
- £250m Children’s Health Fund.
- £500 more per annum for unpaid carers.
- Scrap the 2012 Tory NHS Act.
- Reinstate the Nurses’ Training Bursaries.
- To fund these, proposals include Corporation Tax, the ‘Robin Hood’ tax, VAT on private school fees, closing corp tax ‘loopholes’, fat cat tax, being firm with tax avoidance and increase of income tax for v.high earners.
I’m voted this morning with more than a heap of scepticism, but I felt good for voting with an open mind and a dash of hope. I just wish that voting, and Brexit-related jazz in particular, didn’t cause so many people to turn against each other, to antagonise and belittle others for their beliefs and opinions. We need to be together on this and we need a little hope.
Are you voting today?