'Save Our NHS' campaigner urges elderly Sheffield folk to make their voices heard

An NHS rally in Sheffield in 2014.
An NHS rally in Sheffield in 2014.
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A health service campaigner has urged the ‘people’s army’ of 100,000 older people in Sheffield to make their voice heard in the battle over the future of the NHS.

Former organisational consultant, John Carlisle, 75, of Dover Road, Nether Edge is a leading light in Sheffield’s Save Our NHS movement.

Health service campaigner, John Carlisle.

Health service campaigner, John Carlisle.

He wants to challenge the view that older people are the cause of the current problems the health service faces, arguing that the problem is one of organisation, not demand.

And - on Wednesday, April 25 - he will host an event where health care users in Sheffield of all ages will be able to have their say on how the much-loved institution can survive.

“I really want to get old people along to say to them ‘here is what you are being blamed unfairly for’,” he said.

“We are blamed for ‘bed blocking’ and increasing demand - but it is not real.

“It is because people who should be being treated by social care aren’t being because of the swinging cuts - so they get very ill.”

The main topic for discussion will be the ‘destructive’ use of targets in the NHS, but the talk will also focus on the wider problems the service faces as a result of constant reorganisation.

“These huge reorganisations cost billions and billions and you lose productivity every time you do it,” he said.

“And target are just the government’s way of pretending they are in control.”

John says the problems began with the introduction of the internal market in the 1980s and its emphasis on cost cutting.

This, he says, has now reached its logical conclusion in the large scale hiving off of services to the private sector that came about as a result of the Lansley reforms in 2013.

“Five years ago the service had the highest ever patient satisfaction and the lowest cost to treat patients of any major western health service,” he says.

“It attracts the finest minds and the most dedicated staff and it is the best place in the world to be really ill in.”

“It is the greatest institution of its kind in the world. Why is it being messed about?”

‘Saving the NHS for the Next Generation’ is part of the Sheffield Festival of Debate and takes place at the Roco Co-op on Glossop Road on Wednesday, April 25 at 2pm and 7pm.