A rant about human rights and trying to see a doctor

It must be time for a rant. I haven’t had one for a while and things build up.

Apparently the recently re-elected conservative government in the UK has plans to scrap the Human Rights Act. Why would they want to do that? It’s sort of like saying, “Let’s scrap the right to vote for women. They don’t need it”. Or, “Let’s make it legal to keep slaves. We need the cheap labour”.

I don’t really know much about the act but the very notion of scrapping an act that is designed to protect human rights seems a bit backwards. I can understand a desire to add to it and fine-tune it but remove it altogether? What could they possibly be thinking???

According to this Guardian A-Z of the act, it incorporates things like:
* the right to life
* prohibition of torture
* right to liberty and security
* right to a fair trial
* freedom of expression

It all sounds very reasonable to me and I agree wholeheartedly with all of it. Thomas Paine is probably rolling around in his grave right now. Paine is the author of the Rights of Man, a book that was written in 1791.

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

People tell me that the philosophy of conservative politics is individual liberty. If that’s the case, then why would a conservative government scrap a law which specifically protects individual liberty and freedom of expression? This is why I’m a swing voter. I don’t think any one party ever really completely follows the philosophy they pretend to aspire to. It’s very much dependent on the person at the helm. I also think that the longer one party is in power the more they go from listening to the views of the population to becoming a power-crazed despot.

The other thing that peeved me off this week was trying to get an appointment for my father to see a GP. The GP system seems to work fine here if you’re registered somewhere, but if you’re not registered, then you’re at the mercy of the scary receptionist holding guard over the appointment book. I rang the place I’m registered with to get him an appointment. They said no, because he’s not a resident here, and that he’d have to go private. They gave me a private hospital to ring which I did but they had nothing until next week and Dad will be gone by then. I then began ringing every medical centre in Aberdeen trying to get an appointment. Some places were helpful until they discovered that I was registered somewhere already and this seemed to put up a barrier. They said I had to ring the place I am registered at. But each of the four times I rang my own surgery, they turned me away. I told them that Australia and the UK have a reciprocal health agreement which means that British citizens can access the health service in Australia when they’re tourists there and vice versa here. There’s information about this online:
http://borderpractice.co.uk/index.php?scl_page=overseas_visitors
and here:
http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/countryguide/NonEEAcountries/Pages/Non-EEAcountries.aspx

In the end he got an appointment at a centre on the other side of town. They were really nice and not at all concerned that I wasn’t registered at their practice. I don’t understand why it had anything to do with me at all. I wasn’t the one seeking an appointment. I wasted an hour ringing around and in the end decided not to tell them that I was a resident here. What if we were both tourists and didn’t know anyone here who was already registered with a GP? Why should it matter that my father knows someone who is lives here? I hope British tourists in Australia get better treatment when they’re ill.

**NB** Apparently the conservative party plan to replace the Human Rights Act with their own Bill of Rights and so I was wrong in thinking that it’s a complete erosion of human rights. See comments for more info.

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