A Royal Commission for the NHS would be totally unnecessary since the man on the Clapham omnibus could tell you what is wrong. There is plenty right with the NHS too but the failures are evident for all to see and have been reiterated by health chiefs, doctors and in the press for months and years. No single policy will work. It has to be a mighty effort from all departments as the health of the nation is inextricably linked to housing, education and the environment, to name but three.

To take the pressure off hospitals the model neds to shift towards preventative rather than reactive medicine. Public health  initiatives are needed such as dealing with cheap alcohol and binge drinking, forcing manufacturers to reduce sugar in their products, restricting sale of such products in schools and hospital and so on. The school day should be lengthened to provide time for games, gym and gardening, all once on the curriculum when Britain was leaner and fitter. The mental health of the nation is linked to a speeded up world, poor housing and general deprivation in many quarters. The differential between the earnings of CEOs and the ordinary worker highlight this. A connection cannot be denied.

In addition there needs to be a big recruitment drive for home grown nurses, doctors and mid-wives, whilst simultaneously improving the working conditions in hospitals and surgeries. The shift patterns need changing. Working for more than eight hours at a stretch is paying for poor practise and endangers the health of the work-force. The current working patterns lead to burn out and wastage. The rise in use of locums has been a consequence of deteriorating working conditions. Full time is unendurable, working as a locum part-time you have a better quality of life and earn the same.  However constantly changing personal, (churn), is very bad for patients. Good departments take years to build up.

IT systems need upgrading, clerical departments should be far less amateurish and ad hoc, the system of radiographer taking pictures then the weeks of waiting for the consultant to read them plus further waiting for them to go back to the GP, (the NHS is full of this nonsense) need to be streamlined in this day of instant technology. There should be less hierarchy, and more teamwork.

Hospitals should be encouraged to spread best practise sharing expertise; competition has not worked. Currently doctors and nurses often don’t know their own colleagues, let alone those on a floor below. Good food in hospitals for both staff and patients and statutory breaks should be the norm. The Dilnot report should be implemented for care for the elderly freeing up beds, (what was the point of commissioning this report for it to be kicked into the long grass?).

I could go on stating the obvious. It is a fact of life that any government in this country stands or falls by the NHS. These changes will be costly but I do not think there is a member of the electorate who would not want to pay for this radical programme of modernisation if they knew the money would be ring-fenced. Theresa May cannot avoid witnessing the demise of the NHS: it is crumbling in front of her very eyes. This is not the time to be lily-livered. If she shows moral courage and mobilizes her troops in cabinet she will not only save the NHS but herself and the current Conservative administration.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 12th, 2018 at 1:19 pm and is filed under NHS, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.