As you may know, the Doc has hit 60 and hung up his stethoscope. After years of wrestling with the NHS, he's simply had enough.
Worse, he's also hung up his quill pen. The NHS Blog Doctor will no longer be holding his indispensable cyber-surgery. We've lost our definitive voice on matters healthcare.
Naturally we wish him well in retirement, but it's a sad day for must read blogs, and 2 minutes silence are most definitely in order.
And while you're silent, you should consider what the Doc's retirement means for you.
Because just like Tyler - long since retired from paid employment - the Doc is a member of the famous Baby Boomer generation that is set to become such a burden on the rest of you over the next 40 years.
As we've blogged many times, the problem with old people today is that they seem to have forgotten they're old people. Not only do they go on cruises and buy themselves Harley Davidsons (actually, in the Doc's case it's a scooter), but they forget that they're supposed to shuffle off in reasonably quick order. They're not supposed to hang around for decades drawing pensions and demanding increasingly expensive healthcare. It's not nature's way.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the Doc can expect to live for another 21.5 years, all of which will be supported by his NHS pension. And that's fair enough because he's earned it. But as we know, NHS pensions are unfunded - ie his pension will have to be paid largely out of future taxes.
He will also need increasing infusions of healthcare, as we all will. And he may well need some of that highly expensive care for the elderly.
Overall, he and the rest of us Baby Boomers are going to be Eye-Wateringly Expensive. According to the European Commission, over the next half century, the rising cost of old people is going to impose additional costs on everyone else of 5.1% of GDP - equivalent in todays' terms to about £75bn pa. And as we can see, that's a bigger increase than the EU average of 4.7%:
What can we do?
As we've mentioned before, there are really only three options:
- Shoot everyone once they reach their allotted three score and ten - Tyler is gradually turning against this option.
- Get someone else to pay - we could, say, import a load of young Polish plumbers to work hard and pay lots of UK tax, and then send them home just before they retire... except in the real world, they don't go - they stay here to increase our problem even more.
- Increase the pension age to 70 or higher - tell people like the doc that they have to go on working.
In reality, the third option is the only game in town - which is where our politicos are now finally, but still hestitantly, taking us. They need to speed up, and the fiscal retrenchment of the next few years ought to give them the courage and spur they require.
Meanwhile, we Baby Boomers seem to have got out of jail free.
What luck. Calls for a spin on the Yamaha. Maybe the Doc and I should meet up with the other aging rockers outside that caff near Dorking.