The debate about Dan Hannan's comments on the NHS are interesting; albeit, the Government reaction comes from a blinkered Socialist view about where we are.
Firstly, we should be proud of what has been accomplished with the NHS, but we should also recognise that universal health care is not unique to Britain. We ignore other models at our peril.
It is right that we continue to maintain our commitment to the principle of free health care, but we should also be examining what is going on elsewhere and learn and develop where we are.
There are some ludicrous anomalies in our system. I have kidney disease, and take blood pressure tablets as a precaution - it is essential that I do so - because high blood pressure and kidney disease don't mix. I have to pay for my prescriptions, yet diabetics get theirs free. Asthmatics also have to pay for prescriptions. I don't begrudge diabetics free prescriptions, but these issues need to be examined and corrected.
I am pleased the Conservatives have pledged to maintain spending on the NHS. It is our most essential service - health is everything. But we need to invest more in prevention to reduce reactive costs. We must also recognise that, like all Whitehall driven Government, it is massively over bureaucratic and that it is essential to streamline administration so that we can increase the proportion of money spent on the front line.
For this reason it is critical that we don't just bury ourselves in a debate that suggests the NHS as it stands is the only way. We must examine what is going on elsewhere and learn, whilst robustly maintaining the principle of universal health care free at the point of delivery.