There was an excellent article in the Speccie two weeks ago about the abuse of the NHS by health tourists. Cue predictable outrage from UKIP and just-as-predictable flannel from lefties, saying it is our duty, we are a wealthy nation, our terrible Empire raped the world, yadda yadda.
The problem, as we all know, is that the NHS is owned not really by 60 million patients, but by 1.4 million NHS staff. Reform is almost impossible, and impossible to judge (‘good’ reform being stymied by stubborn NHS management or medical staff will be made to look ‘bad’, obviously). Electorally, it is suicidal to propose the sort of radical reform it really needs. Furthermore, the Hippocratic Oath is something we all respect and even one wretched suffering African being shown the door for failing to produce a valid credit card would be too many.
Happily, a Mr Tom Roberts from Derby has solved the problem for us. He has written to the Speccie and suggested that all we need do is meet the cost of the use/abuse of the NHS by foreigners and health tourists from the Overseas Aid budget. Genius! We know they find it very hard to identify enough credible uses for their huge budget. Let the Overseas Aid budget meet the cost, and close down the unnecessary International Development ministry (1,700 civil servants, if you can believe it).
One day, many years from now, we won’t have an NHS which treats the sick of the world, straight off the plane at Heathrow, with the British taxpayer picking up the bill. That will be because the NHS has imploded and the British economy has turned into Albania c1975. We could avoid this happening by having a proper debate about the size of the state and the security of our borders, but I can’t see that happening in any meaningful way whilst the current lot of jokers run the Tory party.