Sunday, 16 June 2013

Death the Cost of Austerity

There is a booming business here in East London, it’s not what you would expect… or then again would you? But even death has its financial rewards for some who are in the business of providing a service for the deceased and their families. Oh … yes’ the undertaker’ is onto a nice little earner in my part of the world.

A local paper has revealed that early mortality rates in its area are among the highest in the country – with more people dying prematurely in Tower Hamlets than anywhere else in the capital which in this day and age I find shocking, but it has to be said not surprising when you consider the cuts being made to the NHS and other services that people have relied on in times of sickness.

Tower Hamlets has become the 137th worst local authority out of 150, with 347 deaths of under – 75s per 100,000 residents, and my own locality Newham, only ranks marginally better, coming in at 116th, with 316 early mortalities per 100,000 people.

National Health Service reforms by the government has meant that since April, local authorities have been given a bigger say in the service, whatever that means? I don’t suppose a great deal at a time when most are preoccupied with cutting or rigging up with plasters existing services to their communities.

The conditions in which people are born, live work and age, shape their health. The poor not only die sooner, they also spend more of their lives with a disability, an “avoidable difference which is unacceptable and grossly unfair. The fact is, life expectancy is linked to social standing in society as it has always been despite any hard won improvements and the laying of the foundation stones to a welfare state now being demolished, but today it has declined (forced) backwards in this the age of austerity.

Since poverty is relative to health;all the more will the poor suffer from diseases related to inadequate diets, lack of exercise, smoking, poor pay, and job insecurity.

"As scholars or public health and political economy, we have watched aghast as politicians endlessly debate debts and deficits with little regard for the human costs of their decisions"
David Stucker and Sanjay Basu writing in the New York Times: How Austerity Kills

Having spent time studying a decade of medical information two academics,David Stucker and Sanjay Basu have concluded that austerity is bad for health.

With more than 10,000 suicides and a million cases of depression during what they call the “Great Recession” and the austerity that followed, they cite examples such as Greece, which has seen the rate of Aids-causing HIV virus increase by 200pc as its health budget is butchered and cut. High youth unemployment has gone hand in glove it seems with a tragic increase in drug abuse, speeding up the spread of the virus among the young.

In Britain, they inform us that 10,000 families made homeless have been pushed already under this government into the misery and suffering of the austerity budget’s which of course Labour now say is a necessity that they would not change if successful in being elected into office, which poses the question who speaks now for the majority of ordinary working people in Britain; that’s probably another post in its own right.  

And now we are told that a staggering £2 million has been squandered on gagging orders preventing staff speaking out, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act when a Tory MP Steve Barclay (for gods sake) obtained the figures.

So in conclusion, we will never have a health service that meets the needs of people so long as the profit and market system are allowed to hold health to ransom by behaving like mercenaries burning down the village of our National Health Service.    

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