Monday, 18 July 2011
An Example Of Our 'Them And Us' Society
This post is not to analyse the resignation of Britain's top police officer, Sir Paul Stephenson, because it's been done far more eloquently here, here and here.
I have no problem with Sir Paul and his wife accepting 20 nights free of charge at Champneys earlier this year because he has friends in handy places. It's reported their full-board stay is reported to be worth around £12,000 - that's what we would be charged - but the spa's managing director, Stephen Purdew, footed the bill. Sir Paul describes Mr Purdew as a 'personal family friend'.
Not long ago I saw a senior Scottish politician at Scotland's premier health spa. He was occupying the most expensive suite available and it never occurred to me he was there as a 'guest' of the owner. He, very possibly, paid his own account. The cost of treatments there are on a par with Champneys and can easily exceed the cost of accommodation and food.
What does concern me about Sir Paul's leisure activities is part of this statement from The Guardian :
When did the taxpayer start funding intensive physiotherapy costs at expensive health spas for police officers? What proof is there that Sir Paul was able to return to work six weeks earlier solely because he had this treatment at Champneys?
I consider it a gross misuse of taxpayers' money to be paying excessive sums for these treatments in a private spa. We're told repeatedly our NHS is the best in the world - I don't believe that for a minute - so why didn't Sir Paul have treatment on the NHS? If he didn't think the NHS could provide quality treatment, he should have arranged personal private health insurance. Many military personnel scrimp to pay for their health insurance because they realise speedy, quality treatment is seldom available on the NHS. They pay for it from their earnings.
Isn't this a small example which proves we have a 'them and us' society when the 'chosen' are entitled to privileged health care courtesy of the taxpayer, yet our military have to pay high fees, if they can afford them, for a similar service or rely upon such charities as The Soldiers' Charity (which was the Army Benevolent Fund) or Help for Heroes for funds to buy artificial limbs of a quality which is not available within our heath service?
There's a definite irony when David Cameron insists 'We're all in this together' while the majority pay for the elite privileges of the few.