Stop tax on the sick
It is nothing short of a tax on the sick - the fact that patients in hospital are required to pay rip-off prices to watch TV while convicted criminals get it for just about nothing. Charges for viewing what’s on the box are set at exorbitant levels, as much as £10 a day - and there is no way of switching off the meter if you are not watching TV. What makes this scandal even worse is the fact that everyone from the Prime Minister, the hospital bosses to the patients think it is an outrage and yet nothing is being done to put an immediate stop to it. It would almost be palatable if the revenue - or let’s tell it as it is - the profit is ploughed back into health care. But it is being pocketed by a private company. We are often told and many believe that life in prison can be seen as too soft. Not many would deny a prisoner the right to watch TV - it must form part of the reward and privilege system that encourages rehabilitation. But when you set what they pay, just a quid a week, against what patients have to, then it is nothing short of a scandal. Hospitals say they will be reviewing the contracts once they come to an end in four years’ time - but they have already been running since 2002 with Hospedia making a tidy profit. How on earth did we get into this situation. The Government should intervene now and buy out this contract and stop taxing our sick.
Ambitious care plan
We give a cautious welcome to the five-year plan for improving the quality of care provided by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. The reason for this is that striking a balance between good response times while achieving cost savings is a difficult trick to pull off. The plan is intended to deliver value for money but it must also maintain the confidence of the public and that will only be done by hitting response targets. This is a considerable challenge and we wish the service the best of luck. Let us hope it succeeds because an effective ambulance service is in all our interests.