Posted by: John | October 1, 2012

Are 38 degrees worrying people to death?

Like many people I’m getting tired of the opportunism of the 38 degrees website.

Lately, they seem to have majoring heavily on the NHS. Their ploy is very simple – it seems to find some issue, hyperbolise it and then ask people to say `don’t want this at all ever`. Or something like that.

The last email that people have received states: 

Members of 38 Degrees in your local area are sending local doctors a strong message: our NHS is precious. Already hundreds of us have signed the petition asking them to protect it. Before local members deliver the petition, can you add your name and help get hundreds more signatures?

Here’s the email from a few days ago in case you missed it: Dear Andrew,

The government’s plans to privatise and fragment our NHS are taking shape in your area.

Local doctors are forming a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the area. They’re going to get new powers to decide what health services you and your neighbours are able to access and who provides them. Whether it’s treatment for diabetes, skin conditions, a broken arm or depression, profit-hungry companies like Virgin Care and Serco are circling, ready to bid for contracts by promising to slash costs. The doctors on your local CCG will be under pressure from the government to hand out contracts to private companies. That could put vital services at risk. [3] But the last thing most doctors want is to carve up our NHS for private profit. Plus, the new CCG has a legal duty to listen to local people. [4]

So right now, we’ve got a big chance to ask local doctors to use their new powers to protect our NHS, not privatise it. Together, we can make sure they hear from hundreds of local people as they make these crucial decisions.Can you add your name to the petition to your local CCG now?

And so it goes on asking people to keep the NHS in state hands.

I have no problem with internet campaigning but as far as I can see 38 degrees have made a major blunder: A lot of these emails have gone to Welsh recipients. And who is responsible for Welsh Health Services – you guessed it, the Welsh Assembly. Who runs the Welsh Assembly – let me see, ah yes, Labour.

So, it’s gone to people in Wales who will be worrying themselves silly about what the Coalition Government is doing over something that that Government has no control over. Are Scottish people receiving these emails as well?

Funny thing is that during the time since 38 degrees was established (according to Wikipedia 26 May 2009) I can’t recall them ever doing a campaign about Labour’s own NHS record. In fact, (according to Wikipedia) 38 degrees started churning out emails in October 2010. 

So, can I make a small suggestion. Given that there are articles like this http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/08/25/lack-of-doctors-in-wales-causing-nhs-systems-to-break-down-bma-warns-91466-31691597/ and this http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/09/25/carwyn-jones-we-will-help-health-boards-with-slightly-short-budgets-91466-31906777/ perhaps they’d like to do an email campaign `Doctors shortfall in Wales` or `Make the Welsh assembly fund the NHS fully`. Or something like that. Unless of course, they approve of this situation?

Now I’ve no doubt there’s a debate on healthcare to be had. Put simply, there isn’t a pot of gold for the NHS – the reality is people are living longer, the pharmaceutical industry is expanding its pills and potions and the NHS is fighting hard to keep up with the demand with spiralling costs. And let’s be honest Labour have no magic wand (particularly as they neither can come up with any discernible policies `not the right time in the Parliament` and won’t anyway as if they get in in 2015 they will be doing a `zero-based spending review`. 

I was simply asked to do this blog posting by Welsh friends who were concerned that there was undue distress caused to people in Wales. I would like to see an even-handed debate on the NHS and healthcare in general. I’d also like to hear 38 degrees come clean once and for all – are they an independent organisation or a Labour front organisation. 

Or is it a case of `lying back and thinking of England, oh, I meant Wales`. 

 

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