It’s always worth keeping an eye on what other parts of the UK are being promised to try to ensure Northern Ireland isnt being short changed under devolution. Often, its mighty hard to find out. Government has a vested interest in concealment if they fail to match other areas. Like or not, more and more, we are all in a huge post code lottery. Is BT doomed never to win the rollerball? Take for example the NHS Constitution for England and todays announcement of a new raft of proposed and actual legal rights for patients, including one to be treated privately in the face of undue delays. Why bother to consult? The answers seem obvious. Health is a prime election battle ground and targets are controversial; some may be achieved only at the expense of other treatments. But is the NI public to be asked about this? Probably not. Delivery is not high in the list of priorities. Most local politicians would rather obssess about the politics of the new boards and local government. Try as I might, I can find nothing comparable to Andy Burnhams programme from Michael McGimpsey and the others up on the Hill. How badly is Northern Ireland losing out because of its throwback politics? See extracts from Burnham plan below
“Hospital patients in England will get the legal right to be seen privately if they face NHS delays.
Hospitals have to start treating patients within 18 weeks of referral – or two weeks in the case of cancer.
everyone aged 40-74 would have a legal right to a five-yearly NHS health check from 2012 to assess their risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
Ministers will ask the public whether they should get a legal right to:
Choose to die at home
Access NHS dentistry
Personal health budgets
Choose a GP practice offering extended access to evening and weekend appointments
Key diagnostic tests for suspected cancer patients within one week of seeing a GP.”
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London