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Here’s how we could pay for the NHS after pandemic – Patrick Mercer

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23.05.2020

We’ve been ‘invaded’, we’re ‘under siege’ and, on the BBC the other day, the new vaccine was even described as our ‘counter-attack’.

And so it goes on with our Prime Minster emulating Churchill and the nation searching for a ‘Blitz spirit’.

But whether you buy into this crisis and our response, or see it as some sort of agitprop, there can be no denying that our economy has been jolted onto a war footing.

Huge debts are being built up which, just like 1815, 1918 and 1945, will have to be paid for over many years to come – the difference being that we can’t shift our production line from tanks to cars, we can’t turn swords into ploughshares and we can’t demobilise navies and air forces.

Whether there’s several 
more Covid spikes, cancer runs riot or the price of drugs soars, the bill for the NHS will continue to be enormous and, I suggest, expand. But how do we pay for 
it?

Now, when I became an MP, I’d been shielded from the realities of normal life by the blanket, khaki wool, of the Army. Twenty-five years in uniform had insulated me from what made my constituents tick and I had to learn fast.

The first lesson was that 
many of my constituents were elderly, frail and with various, medical needs. Not surprisingly, this meant that doctors and 
the NHS generally were centre stage.

And I also learnt that older people often have more time, are usually articulate and the years have shown them how to voice their needs effectively.

Really, there was only one issue in my former constituency – healthcare – and it dominated to such........

© Yorkshire Post