Today Gordon Brown announced what sounds, on paper, an excellent idea. Yes, everyone in the UK will be offered regular health check ups to screen for illnesses.
Er ... No.
Apparently, six million people are to be offered health screening, the rest of us, will have to go without.
Ah, but at least of those six million, it will mean the early detection of illnesses which can be treated better surely ?
Well, it depends what drugs you will need. The problem is the the National Institute for Health and clinical Excellence (NICE) are rather loathe to license drugs for use in the early stages of illnesses (take the drugs avastin and herceptin as examples), which means that although they may detect illness quicker, you may not get treated anyway.
But prevention is better than a cure surely ?
Yes, but the government does not take enough steps anyway to prevent preventable illnesses. take for example the annual flu jab, which is only available to "at risk" groups. This means anyone else in a job which puts them in contact with lots of people, and therefore at higher risk of flu, cannot get the jab.
But at least it will mean some people get a proper check up, won't it ?
No. Because the NHS and the BMA have already said that hospital do not have the scanners required or the extra doctors needed so they cannot put the government's plan in to place without massive extra investment.
But surely Gordon Brown has said there will be extra money available to the NHS ?
Well, it depends. He gave a large increase a couple of years ago, but that was largely taken in pay rises for Doctors and consultants (who Gordon Brown gave considerably more than the inflation rate to). But recently the government have stated that extra funding for the NHS will be much more strictly controlled, as can be witnessed by the overspending last year by dozens of NHS trusts.
Can you work it out ? No, me neither.