Surrey County Council Health Committee Tory Councillor, John Butcher: “Force seriously ill people out of Surrey to push up house prices”
From Political Scrapbook blog -June 1st, 2012.
A Tory councillor on Surrey’s health committee has called for seriously ill people to be forced out of the county. John Butcher has suggested those with “self-inflicted morbidity” should be “encouraged” to “move away from Surrey” – in the name of pushing up house prices.
Butcher wants groups such as smokers — referred to as the “self-inflicted” — to be offered slower NHS treatment so that they will be forced to move: “This factor would attract more ‘other’ patients to come to live in Surrey – and that would push up house prices here.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more sick, he ventures that this would benefit the Tories in elections: “any political party that seeks to pander to the needs of the self-inflicted unhealthy, and to win their votes, will suffer twofold … mortality will ensure that its voters will be much fewer in number than the ‘others’”
Councillor Butcher’s email, which went round Surrey Council like wildfire before being leaked, is reproduced in full below:
1 Please pass on my apology for absence from the Surrey HOSC meeting on 24 May 2012, but I have a hospital appointment that day, and it has already been postponed once.
2 Because of the economic catastrophe facing the capitalist world, the NHS, that is a Marxist organisation, is bound to fail – like Greece.
The government’s efforts to ‘improve’ it are merely a postponement of that failure, which will arise from ever-increasing demand for, and the unit costs of, healthcare and the ever-decreasing national wealth available to afford those demands and costs, through taxation or otherwise.
Politicians who support the diversion of increasingly scarce fiscal resources into propping up the NHS, without taking measures to curb demand, not only accelerate its eventual demise but allow more important demands on the public purse to go unmet, with serious adverse consequences to the people. It will be the people who suffer from the collapse of the NHS – but they will have only themselves to blame – for voting in politicians who promise to improve the NHS regardless of other factors.
3 One way of saving the NHS is to encourage patients to take very much more care of themselves, with penalties on those who won’t do that. If the NHS in Surrey were to be run on the basis that patients with self-inflicted morbidity (mainly – smoking, alcohol, narcotics, obesity) and injury (dangerous activities) are, following due warning, placed in a much slower-moving queue for healthcare than ‘other’ patients, this would encourage the self-inflicted to move away from Surrey, to areas where there is no differentiation between patients on the grounds of their contribution towards their condition.
And it would deter the self-inflicted from coming to live in Surrey. Over time, that would result in the healthcare for the ‘other’ patients in Surrey being significantly better than the average national level for all patients, as the resources deployed to the self-inflicted would be very much reduced.
This factor would attract more ‘other’ patients to come to live in Surrey – and that would push up house prices here – assuming that planning controls remain similar to now.
4 Eventually the self-inflicted patients would end up living in ‘equality’ areas that are dominated by politicians who pander to their needs, thus driving more ‘other’ patients out of those areas, as healthcare there will be badly affected by the over-dominance of the self-inflicted.
These ‘other’ patients would move into areas, such as, hopefully, Surrey, where ‘other’ patients are not nearly so adversely affected. Eventually the country will be sharply divided into two types of area:
4.1 the ‘equality’ ones, where the self-inflicted unhealthy are treated the same as all patients, and 4.2 the ‘others’, such as, hopefully, Surrey.
Average life expectancy will be substantially lower (by, say, 20 years) in the ‘equality’ areas than in the ‘others’. This may mean that ‘other’ patients moving out of ‘equality’ areas may have to live in a less desirable dwelling, because of house price differentials, but that is a trade-off, that they can choose, with healthcare differentials between the two types of area.
Such house price differentials already apply for schooling, with houses on one side of a catchment boundary being worth a lot more than houses on the other side of it.
Indeed, the perception that the gap in those prices between those two types of healthcare area will grow substantially will encourage the ‘other’ patients in those ‘equality’ areas to move out of them sooner, lest they see their dwelling there becoming worthless.
5 Thus, any political party that seeks to pander to the needs of the self-inflicted unhealthy, and to win their votes, will suffer twofold:
5.1 mortality will ensure that its voters will be much fewer in number than the ‘others’, and
5.2 by concentrating its voters into particular areas, that party will never be able to win enough seats to dominate Parliament.
Regards John Butcher.
18 Bramble Rise
Tel: 07899 891685