Where have I put that polling card? I have it, it’s in a safe place, but like most people my attempts to put things in safe places usually end with me losing them… D’oh!
Well election week is finally here, after a rather interesting campaign – mainly fought in a series of what appeared to be – presidential TV debates!
I dread elections now. A life long Labour supporter (Iraq was the last straw) they just further remind me of how few choice I have left. However, the prospect of a hung parliament does spice things up, and I won’t be the only person wondering if Clegg and his Liberals are a real alternative?
But as a HIV-positive person that relies on NHS services, should my vote reflect the – manifesto promises – of the three main parties and how will they handle a health service where demand is on the increase?
Of course Brown has pledged to protect the NHS, but Labour have already asked the NHS to make efficiency savings of £20 billion over the next three years. However, they say they will increased funding in real terms, paying for it with the 1 per cent rise in national insurance.
Clegg will protect frontline services but is determined to cut NHS bureaucracy with big cuts at department of health. Liberals will use targets less, cap pay and bonuses for managers and get rid of unnecessary quangoes.
Cameron has drawn up a 20-point-pledge. The Tories will cut administration costs in the NHS by a third. Introduce new hotline for urgent care to run alongside 999 and fines for missed dentist appointments. Oh and a Single budget for each person suffering from chronic illnesses to cover their health and social care, that may effect you and me.
The one thing they are all saying is that the NHS costs too much. HIV clinics are expensive with large drugs bills. In London where I live, the hospitals look after half the population of people-living-with-HIV in the UK. These services will, and are, being asked to cut budgets by as much as 10 per cent already.
These cuts could effect how often we get to see our Doctors. There may be fewer Consultancy posts created in HIV clinics to cope with a growing patient base. We may not get the treatment choices we do now if drug costs are not brought under control and drug budgets come under scrutiny.
I have come to the realisation that when it comes to the NHS, I doubt it really matters which party wins on Thursday. The NHS is a prime target for cuts and it’s already pulling its belt in.
So I am back to the drawing board when it comes to my vote, and wondering again what have I done with that elusive polling card?