By Liam Carr
The title of this post is provocative but it is not hyperbole or exaggeration. The Tory led government is implementing policy that directly leads to needless loss of life.
This is most obvious example. There are well-documented cases of people who have been driven to suicide following ATOS disability assessments. The government’s desire to cut the welfare bill is put before the protection of lives. (1)
Neglect in care homes and Hospitals:
The Government pushes ahead with privatisation and efficiency savings in the NHS. We are seeing cases of patients dying of thirst and hunger in hospitals and private care homes. Last year, 117 people died from septicaemia, as a direct result of bed sores. Again this is not an exaggeration but simply quoted from data published by the Office of National Statistics. (2)
Scrapping of Cancer targets:
The Labour government stands accused of having too many targets in the NHS. This may have been a valid criticism in some cases, but not for the target that treatment for any disease had to start within 18 weeks of seeing the GP (scrapped July 2010). When rapid detection and treatment could be the difference between life and death, a target is not a burden or a waste of resources, it is a lifesaver. (3)
Excess winter deaths:
Food prices are going up. Energy companies are reaping massive profits. It is nonsensical that Cameron announces that everyone will be on the ‘cheapest’ tariff, when heating bills will remain a huge proportion of the total spend of those on low incomes. There has been no mention of those still paying massive surcharges on pre-pay meters. The elderly will have to choose between heating and eating this winter. Too many, an estimated 26,700 will not live to see the Spring. (4)
Cuts to policing:
In Co. Durham alone, 192 police officers will lose their jobs. The only people who will welcome this news are criminals. The talk, in the run up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, is of Police Officers on the beat, keeping our streets safe, which is good and necessary. There is little mention of officers who deal with complex domestic violence casework and enforcing injunctions: vital work that goes on, away from public scrutiny. Around 120 victims die each year, as a result of domestic violence in this country. This is a shameful statistic in a civilised society. (5)
The first question a policymaker should ask is “What is the effect of this policy on the most vulnerable in society?” If the answer is “They will die”, then it is the policy that must be ‘killed off’.
The government fails to ask this question, and as a result it sacrifices human lives on the altar of deficit reduction.