Good health in 2022?

While we still need to applaud the work of the NHS and all the staff who help provide it, we also need to watch its back.

The Stormont Executive has been discussing the introduction of charges for a range of services including prescription charges, fees for domiciliary care, and paying to see a GP or attend an Emergency Department (A&E).

Other measures thought to be included are fees for hearing aids, paying for non-emergency patient transport, paying for missed GP appointments and a review of eligibility for free eye tests.

The foundation of the NHS in 1948, and the securing of the principle that health care would be free at the point of use and available to every citizen from the cradle to the grave, was amongst the most significant social developments of the 20th century in Britain and Northern Ireland. These changes were not given freely, they were won by the struggles of the organised working class.

Everyone who values that principle should now be prepared to stand in defence of the NHS and the publicly funded, free at the point of delivery services that it provides.

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