Friday, June 15, 2007

Patricia Hewitt and the rest of them must go - and soon!

Dear Reader - this is not just another rant (though it may turn out that way!) about the disastrous changes in the NHS that NuLabour have subjected us to in the last ten years. Rather it is a salutary tale that could affect anyone of us at anytime.
Our near neighbours have a ten-year old daughter - let's call her Molly - who was born without the ability to hear in either ear. Thanks to clinical advances that were first developed when the Conservatives were last in power (and I promise that is not a party political point) she was able to benefit from a cochlear implant in one ear. (You might remember that Jack Ashley who was a hearing impaired Labour MP led a very successful campaign to establish this procedure as a standard form of treatment in the NHS.)
Molly has benefited enormously from her implant and has been able to attend the local primary school where she has shown that she is a very bright and able pupil and more than capable of keeping well ahead of the standards expected of a child of her age. She does have help from a specialist teacher to compensate for the fact she only has hearing in one ear. Now she and her parents are keen that she receives a cochlear implant for her other ear so that she can fully realise her potential as she moves into secondary education.
Guess what? The local primary care trust has rejected her application for a second cochlear implant on the basis that it will cost £20,000 and there will be ongoing annual "maintenance" costs. Their rationale appears to be that she is functioning well with one ear's hearing.
So her parents must now appeal (with little prospect of success) and so will have to put a tremendous amount of effort into lobbying their local (LibDem) MP, writing to the Prime Minister, the local newspaper, etc, etc.
At the same time their application to the Local Education Authority for an additional six hours per week specialist teaching support when Molly goes onto secondary education - which they were obliged to submit by March 2007 - will not be considered until she actually moves to the school in September 2008. They have been told that it may not be possible to agree these additional hours. Six additional hours a week! For goodness sake.
At this point I am about to explode. And maybe, you credulous reader, may feel the same. What the heck has been happening with all the extra money that has been poured into the NHS and education over the last ten years? I have resisted the opportunity to rant about the incompetence of NuLabour. What's the point? We all know they are incompetent at handling other people's money despite the fact we have let them take so much of it from us.
More importantly, what will happen to Molly over the next few years. Will she suffer because we carry on believing that Gordon Brown has been a competent Chancellor of the Exchequer?


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