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to care more about whether something works than whether it is politically correct?

(68 Posts)
ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 13:39:10

A general political musing...

It seems at the moment that there are lots of 'policies' aimed more at sounding good than at actually delivering good...

like stopping people not entitled to NHS treatment from getting it...

Sounds great. Costs vastly more than it saves...

Is it worth so much to us to say 'that's not fair' that we would rather spend our money on making it 'fair' than treating entitled patients?

Also benefits cheats. So a very very few people cheat...but it would cost more than you get back to chase them. Do we really want the system to be fairer or would we like more police on the streets?

We want to reduce the deficit (well some people do anyway...I am personally not overly fussed) so does it make more sense to take a little more from the multinational corporations or to cut back benefits (again) and scrape in the pennies? Actually I don't know the answer to this one...but I would decide on the basis of the bottom line income wise...not on whether I considered people on benefits to be work shy or multinationals to be greedy...(I don't).

So is it bonkers to care primarily about what actually works? And not so much on feelings/policies/looking tough on crime etc?

SilverOldie Mon 19-Aug-13 13:58:05

Have you proof that the cost of the NHS ensuring they do not treat people who are not eligible costs more than saved? If so, would love to see a link please.

Ditto dealing with benefit cheats. I disagree that they should do nothing to chase them. They are stealing after all. I don't think you would get more police on the streets if they did nothing about cheaters; completely different Government Departments.

oinkling Mon 19-Aug-13 14:02:07

That's a very pragmatic approach and I didn't think I was going to agree with it (especially if you considered it for more serious breaches or serious crimes). While any system has to serve the proportion of us that use it, if it's a system that all of us pay for then it should serve us all by being value for money.

I'd rather a small proportion of people are benefits cheat than everyone on benefits being poorer and nobody being a benefit cheat. It doesn't make sense to punish everyone!

Iamsparklyknickers Mon 19-Aug-13 14:05:51

It's divide and conquer innit.

You get the chattering masses squabbling over the crumbs of the country so no-one notices you're investment making in a private healthcare firm, or that your BFF has the contract to construct a new rail line or that you're nicely lined up for the directorship in a multi-national corporation once your terms finished because you got a policy through that might fuck over the majority of the country but gilts your personal Lily a little bit more.

If Mr and Ms Average think they're getting something out of it they'll side with the people who gain the most.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:15:00

silver well it is hard to prove definitively because the government don't know how much 'health tourism actually costs...

This is pretty much my point tbh. They don't know the cost yet they are determined to fix the problem no matter what the price may be...this is a monstrously stupid attitude.

I found this: "The Department of Health said the cost of treating foreigners is at least £30m a year for the NHS in England alone - although Dr Clare Gerada, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said that was the equivalent of just two hours of the NHS's annual spending."

We have 60 million entitled users (at least) and about 20 million A and E admissions per unless this procedure the government has in mind to prevent people not allowed to use the NHS from using it costs less than 50p per person, or £1.50 per admission it is not going to be worth it.

So I think we can be confident of the fact that whatever they do will lose the NHS more money than it saves!

AuntieStella Mon 19-Aug-13 14:15:53

If people didn't believe that there were checks, then there would be a lot more fraud.

This level of checking and publicity is part of the reason why levels are where they are.

Wanting to eliminate fraud will always be a popular policy - even if only for the reason that it's politically impossible to support the opposite '(anyone can come to UK and use NHS', and/or 'we won't check if your welfare claim is accurate'). All the major parties support such checks.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:17:19

Oh I thought of another good one!

removing porn from the internet!

I am sure we all agree that a generation of teenagers thinking porn sex is normal sex is a Bad Idea.

But in what universe is banning porn ever going to be the answer?

The only question that matters is 'will this policy help'. Nothing the government has suggested so far has any chance of helping at all.

Funding more sex education might....(just a thought).

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:19:22

auntie so we could keep the status quo? The current checks appear to reduce fraud to acceptable levels...except in the banking and tax avoidance by large companies arena...there I think more checks would reap dividends....

There is a middle ground between chasing every thing down and not bothering at fact we already inhabit it. confused

edam Mon 19-Aug-13 14:21:14

YYY it's incredibly frustrating that ministers will grandstand and claim all sorts of ridiculous things in order to push through policies that are either a. pointless or b. actively bad. 'Cuts' that cost more are not an unusual phenomenon - especially in social care and healthcare. Ripping apart teams that care for people with complex needs in the community may appear to save money in cutting one nursing post or whatever, but they cost MORE because people get sicker and end up in crisis, being admitted to A&E, which is hugely expensive. You can apply that to all sorts of policies - workfare, for instance. People are less likely get jobs if they are forced into workfare than if you leave it up to them!

SilverOldie Mon 19-Aug-13 14:21:47

But surely all the NHS has to do is ask to see identification papers if they think a person may not be eligible. How much does it cost to ask to see such documents?

Why should benefit cheats get away with it, oinkling? It's no different than them walking into a store and stealing something expensive. Some of these people have claimed thousands of pounds to which they are not entitled. Why should tax payers fund that?

Shrugged Mon 19-Aug-13 14:24:19

I don't see what the concept of political correctness as it is usually understood has to do with your argument, OP...?

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:24:43


"But surely all the NHS has to do is ask to see identification papers if they think a person may not be eligible. How much does it cost to ask to see such documents?"

More than a quid a go I would who are you going to ask without being accused of racial you have to ask everyone...every time they come in....

"Why should benefit cheats get away with it, oinkling? It's no different than them walking into a store and stealing something expensive. Some of these people have claimed thousands of pounds to which they are not entitled. Why should tax payers fund that?"

I (as a taxpayer) would rather be paying 10 quid a year to cheats than 1000 quid a year to the government to reduce the number of cheats by 1%. I would rather the 990 quid difference be spent on the NHS...

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:25:40

oh! I hadn't noticed I made 'political correctness'....I just meant that the policy is considered correct from a political point of view...

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 19-Aug-13 14:25:56

I'm quite keen on policies where they pretend to do something but don't waste the money.

Frinstance, if we could pretend we had a big scary nuclear capacity without having one (like WMD in reverse) then we would get the main benefit of having one without the disadvantages such as disposal, cost, etc.

Or saying that you're stepping up border checks or benefit cheat checks or NHS access checks without necessarily bothering to do so...

Or putting average speed cameras on long stretches of road without necessarily turning them on...

Government equivalents of those fake burglar alarm boxes you can buy to make it look like your house has a fancypants system when actually it has a plastic box we have this, inherited from previous owners.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:26:25

edam right that is me and you for a new political party based on zero politics!

Iamsparklyknickers Mon 19-Aug-13 14:26:43

Checks are of course fine and we already have pretty stringent rules in place.

It's the meaningless 'clamping down' and re-creating that spends money stupidly and has very little effect (because it wasn't a massive problem in the first place - because we have checks and rules already in place). Sensationalising the cases that do exist with the subtext that encourages a reader to feel personally ripped off and hard done by makes it easier to look like you can offer a solution and gain popularity when in fact you're still farting into thin air and nothing will be gained at all.

The NHS figures quoted by ICBINEG illustrate that perfectly - it makes very good headlines and a politician can offer very impressive solutions to gain.....2 hours. Well by jove I think the NHS should start offering liposuction on demand with savings like that being made!

It would be a lot harder for a politician to try to reverse the damage done by PFI's and restructure incredibly wasteful layers of bureaucracy that keep the voters in nice middle class lifestyles and keep up his mates shares.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:27:13

horry yes I can support that kind of thing....I mean we definitely have nuclear subs don't we...

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 19-Aug-13 14:27:56

And yes, when I get taken by ambulance to A&E I won't necessarily have my passport with me so I'm not sure that asking for paperwork helps. Particularly since in the UK you aren't obliged to possess any papers.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Mon 19-Aug-13 14:28:12

just ask everyone for their nhs number. If you don't have one, you then would need to prove your eligibility. It's not difficult at all.

BrokenSunglasses Mon 19-Aug-13 14:28:18

The cost of justice is a price worth paying IMO.

Shrugged Mon 19-Aug-13 14:28:50

Ah, ok. How disappointing. I opened the thread expecting an insane rant about Winterval or something. grin

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:29:04

My NHS number? Oh yes I have that right here....oh wait no I don't.

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:30:25

shrugged sorry about that...I should have said 'whether it is good politically'

I could have a stab at a winterval rant if you like?

Iam Can I sign you up for deluxe membership of the MN party?

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Mon 19-Aug-13 14:30:43

Don't you just know it, like your ni number? I haven't lived in the uk for over 20 years, but I still remember my ni number. But if people don't know it now, they would soon learn it if you had to reel it off or pay a fee!

ICBINEG Mon 19-Aug-13 14:33:11

broken "The cost of justice is a price worth paying IMO."

Up to a point yes...beyond

I will happily pay 10 quid a year to have a reasonably fair benefits system (say 3% fraud). I won't like to pay an extra 100 quid a year to have a fairer system (2% fraud) and I certainly wouldn't want to pay 1000 quid a year for an even fairer system (1% fraud). It is the law of diminishing returns. I just don't care about that 1 benefit cheat still left at large...I just don't.

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