Saturday 3 March 2012

It's what we wanted, right?

"1000s of Emergency Service workers seriously hacked off"

I've read a lot recently regarding what this current government is up to and I have none my fair share of bitching about it. I have no real political allegiance, nor do I think that any of the three many parties are any better equipped than each other to change things for the better. There is too much in-fighting and political gain to be made from empty promises. I have watched with frustration whilst the Tories have made universities unaffordable for all but the elite, increased the cost of living considerably, fuel prices rocket, the housing market stagnate and the economy crumble. Our armed forces were slashed on all fronts and public services faced cuts to budgets and front line staff. All can be rationalised under the heading of necessity. Financially the country was / is in a mess. Cuts have to be made to reduce the national deficit and sure, every one felt the pinch. Then, there was the NHS bill. Now there is police privatisation. These goes way beyond reducing costs. This is about profit. This is a direct assault on what our country has held in high regard for so many years. 

I have often had inter-service banter between us and police about which is the number 1 emergency service. We have our reasons why we are and they have theirs. I was going to write a 'police vs ambulance' blog where obviously, we would come out on top! In light of recent events however it seems pretty pointless. They are two great services which do this country proud. Two services which only serve to help and protect our people. They are not and should not be about profit and the cuts that are being made to both with have huge implications. You find me a voter who wanted more crime, less police on the beat, less ambulances and costly health care. I think you'll struggle.

The LAS is the largest "free at the point of contact" emergency ambulance service in the world. We respond to over 1.5 million calls a year within the M25 and employ over 5,000 staff. We are a non profit organisation as are the other 12 NHS ambulance trusts. The government cuts have caused the loss of almost 1000 staff in London alone, most of which are front line. Private, profit making ambulance services are becoming more common place and when the reforms are pushed through, in spite of huge opposition, that will signal the end for the ambulance services that so many millions of people rely on every day. We pride ourselves on the fact that everyone gets the best treatment we can give without social standing being a factor. Sadly, rather than pulling our drug guidelines from our pockets we'll be pulling out price lists. When profit becomes the driving force behind medical care people are simply priced out of the market and have to choose between treatment or rent. But hey, that's what we wanted, right?

The story is no different with our police force. Across the 43 police authorities it is predicted there will be a loss of almost 35,000 staff, most of which will be off the front line. The government is only to fast to criticise when forces can't cope with the public unrest so obviously reducing the amount of officers is the answer. Lets not forget our police face criminals with guns and knifes with nothing more than pepper spray and a stick. They have limited resources when it comes to crowd control with little or no use of baton rounds and water canons. Despite the lack of weapons and the few officers available, we still lock up more criminals than any other European country. What more do people want from the police? The governments answer appears to be privatisation. Out-sourcing police work to untrained, muscle heavy companies like G4S who are there for money and money alone. They will be less accountable and less trust worthy. But hey, that's what we wanted, right?

I'm not saying the emergency services are beyond budget cuts. No one is. Even the Fire Brigade will have their sports equipment budget reduced but recent government actions go way beyond budget cuts. It is quite simply, systematically deconstructing the NHS and police force for personal and financial gain. Let's be honest, if we stay as we are no pockets will be lined. I don't know what stand can be made. An e-petition with over 150,000 signatures has been ignored and the coalition the the people voted into power are simply ignoring the the people who put them there. The NHS bill and the privatisation of the Police will signify and end of an era. But that's what we wanted, right? 

NO IT'S NOT! No one wanted or wants this. No one wants costly health care, no one wants a fragmented police force. No one wants less ambulances. No one wants less police offers and No one wants this inept, out of touch government failing to deliver ALL of their promises to continue this ill conceived policy agenda. I say no one because the people it doesn't effect are rich enough not to care and only stand to profit form this countries demise.

Interestingly, if you were to combine the budget cuts of the all UK ambulance services, polices forces and fire brigades in 2011 it wouldn't come close to the amount that the publicly owned Royal Bank of Scotland paid out in bonuses in the same year. Funny that. 

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