Yesterday’s rise in prescription charges has certainly stirred emotions in England as it finally dawned on people the differences between expenditure in the various health services in England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster. England is now the only country in the union that charges patients for prescriptions.
Eddie Bone from the Campaign for an English Parliament says:
We are getting thousands of inquiries from people who want to find out what has happened and why they are being penalised. As the biggest source of tax revenues, the taxpayer in England is now subsidising health benefits in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
People are finally waking up to the fact that the English part of the NHS is funded less per head than other areas. It’s been known for years there are now four distinct health services in the union, all with different levels of funding.
Personally, I’m glad prescription charges were abolished in Scotland and raised in England. You might think my opinion is shocking, but let me explain.
Without the publicity this has generated, the cause for English equality would still be hiding in some dark, little corner, but the prescriptions issue has been widely reported in all forms of the media. It could be the spark that finally fires the English into life and have them demanding equality. As Eddie says, thousands are making inquiries to the CEP asking them what’s going on. This issue has certainly got the English asking questions, and waking up to the realities of devolution in today’s Britain. The English will eventually learn the truth over the funding differences between the four nations of the union, and start to demand this is addressed.
We English are going to have to take a few more shots on the chin before something done about it. We have already had the issue of tuition fees differences, the proposed sell-off of England’s forests, and now prescription charges. We need just a few more of these before the demand for an English parliament and equality in funding becomes overwhelming. No pain, no gain, as they say.
Meanwhile, the British government should do the decent thing and recognise the differences in the health service by renaming it. There is no longer a “National Health Service” in British terms, and they should replace the “N” by country prefixes, for example the English Health Service, or the EHS.
I would welcome such a change because it means the creation of another English-only institution, which in the long run, would be of great benefit to the cause of English nationalism.