Labour in Manchester are proposing to charge Manchester residents for emergency medicine if they turn up to the Emergency Department drunk.
This may well be a proposal that generates a lot of kneejerk reactions but the reality is that people living with alcohol dependency are often an extremely vulnerable group, often low paid or not working, and charging them for costly medical attention in the ED would be nonsensical.
Also around 60% of self-harm and parasuicide involves alcohol and Labour are saying that they will charge people who overdose, cut themself, or attempt suicide rather than help this very vulnerable group of people to get the care that they desperately need through the Emergency Department.
Charging people who attend the Emergency Departments in Manchester for emergency medical attention may have been possible under Labour’s NHS (Privatisation) Act 2006 but fortunately it has now been strictly prohibited under the coalition’s NHS (Re-nationalisation) Act 2012.
The new Act specifically states that “The services provided as part of the health service in England must be free of charge except in so far as the making and recovery of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment, whenever passed” which means that Labour’s proposed charging for front line accident and emergency services is now illegal.
Following Labour’s privatisation of the out of hours GP service, the walk in centres, hospital car parks and the ownership of many of our NHS Hospitals through Private Finance initiatives, the people of this country denied them the opportunity to impose such charges by ensuring that the Liberal Democats were a part of the Government where they could block any further privatisation or charging of this nature.
At a time when this Government is investing £ 400 million in tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness, the Manchester Labour Party are stoking up hatred against people living with mental illness.