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.


About Sean Kent

Accountant and non-executive director based in Norfolk. Interests include coaching, food, wine and technology.
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5 Responses to Inequality

  1. Trevor says:

    Thought provoking indeed. However, how would you differentiate between self-inflicted illness and illness which may be thrust upon us by virtue of the world we live in. As an example, some people have a couple of glasses of alcohol each day, they get liver disease. How do we prove the liver disease was caused by the alcohol and not by anything else?

    • Sean Kent says:

      Trevor, that’s a good point and you could also have used examples of illnesses where the risks are increased by smoking. To be honest I don’t know the answer, maybe there are some examples where it could clearly be identified as self inflicted.

      Even then, are we comfortable denying healthcare in those circumstances? I wonder if similar decisions are being made in terms of how resources are allocated at present, even if we aren’t aware of them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. geekmoose says:

    Ah, self inflicted. A new way is required, but you are going to have to tackle the food industry, tobacco industry, the brewing industry, media, and housing landlords. That’s not going to happen as there is too much vested interest in the House of Commons.

    Most of the major drains on the health service are preventable, but it is difficult to make healthy choices ( often financially too). There is the argument that people have free will, but they are up against psychologists and some of the best marketing techniques going. Also a lot of the people affected have low levels if education – resulting in not being able to see past marketing, lower incomes – meaning that lower quality foods and ready meals are appealing, and difficult social circumstances – meaning that essential life skills – such as cooking – may not be passed on.

    Before we can look to apportion blame, we need to make sure that we equip people with the skills needed, including the knowledge that the food industry is only out for profit.

    • Sean Kent says:

      I agree with all of that Mr Moose, and let’s not forget that quite a few of the choices we make that have negative impacts on our health are actually enjoyable. If they weren’t it would be much easier for us to make and stick to the logical decision.

      I’m not trying to apportion blame but I am concerned that without looking at things in a different way we are raising unreasonable expectations and encouraging something that doesn’t feel sustainable for individuals or our nation. Thanks for your comments.

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