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Observations Life and Death

Who’s afraid of whom?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 07 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1595

Fear pervades healthcare at the expense of trust, says Iona Heath, writing in a personal capacity

The health service is beset by fear at every level, and yet fear damages health, setting up a destructive vicious cycle that adds to the costs, both human and monetary.

It cannot be easy being a politician in government while capitalism, unopposed, is rampant and seems to be spiralling out of control. The spectre of Greece, bankrupt and burning, must haunt the nightmares of those charged with the financial solvency of our nation. The fear of this sort of meltdown must surely be driving the quest to ensure profit in parts of society traditionally exempt from this sort of imperative. The current government is proposing opening up the transactions of healthcare and of education, previously regarded as public services to be provided from general taxation, to the full power of the market in the hope, presumably, of stabilising the economy. It seems a measure of desperation that it is prepared to invoke the forces of global competition, which have over the preceding five decades laid waste to the nation’s manufacturing …

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