Yesterday morning I was saddened to see in the blog of a colleague and friend that their pursuit of treatment for a mental health condition has faced another set back. The blog is here if you would like to read it for yourself.
Now of course I was upset for Jon, facing another delay in getting the treatment that he needs. But my thoughts about this were more complex and I realised that it was the comment about private treatment that worried me most. As for me this was another example of the increasing inequality I see around us. Not just in healthcare but also in housing, legal remedies, education and transport.
An inequality in access to “public” services. And I wonder how we will manage this as we continue to face cuts in public expenditure to get our economy back on track. I look at all the incredible advances in medical science and question whether we can really expect all of these to be delivered by way of public services. I wonder if we can continue to provide health treatment for ailments that have been self-inflicted. I almost feel frightened to question this, is it heresy to do so?
I heard recently that a third of young people today may never be able to buy their own home, and another third will only be able to do with financial assistance from their parents. And these same parents may well be part of the pension crisis that we are told is looming in the future.
I don’t know what the answer is but I do think that some of it must be in our attitudes to public services and our ability to find and accept some radically different solutions in the future. And whilst that may be difficult it might also be better too. So perhaps it is time to be brave and think the unthinkable.