Tuesday, August 07, 2012

NHS Reality Check

Our local NHS Trust is constantly in the news, it is basically useless. The Independent, hardly a ranting right-wing free market advocating newspaper, gives an idea how bad it is in this article.  Then you can read about the killing of patients at Stepping Hill hospital in this BBC report. Also on the BBC website is this report about the tragic death of Emma Stones at Tameside Hospital.

I could go on listing the litany of abuse, avoidable deaths and sheer incompetence recorded in the National Health Service on a daily basis. I have personal experience of the filthy state of my local hospital and the poor standard of care provided by the nursing staff. My mother-in-law has been housebound for five years due to mistreatment at an NHS hospital. Virtually every person I know has experienced varying degrees of incompetence in the NHS.

Until we take a calm dispassionate look at the NHS the horror stories will continue to appear on an almost daily basis. We need to stop talking about NHS staff as if they are martyrs, they are not. They are doing a job, some highly motivated and competent some not, like in any other field.

Danny Boyle's opening Olympics ceremony was stunning. But why the soviet style propoganda glorification of the NHS? There should have been a minute's silence in memory of the Israeli athletes murdered by Palestians in Munich forty years ago. Maybe Danny Boyle should have included a tribute to those who have died needlessly in the NHS too.


Macheath said...

You're absolutely right; one of the main obstacles to objective assessment is the knee-jerk emotional blackmail any criticism of the NHS is likely to elicit.

Just as anyone with the temerity to suggest public exams are getting easier is immediately accused of personally attacking all those hard-working 'young people' who have studied so diligently, criticism of the sacred NHS cow is deemed to be an insult to the dedicated professionals who struggle day and night to help the sick.

It's hard to find a blogger who hasn't got a tale to tell of NHS inadequacy - the blame runs through the whole system up to and including consultants, but what frequently pins the whole thing together is the indifference fostered by administrators to whom the patient is, at best, an abstract concept and at worst a bureaucratic nuisance to be dealt with at leisure.

These office staff have a stranglehold on the system; they will be the ones called on to enforce on redundancies or cutbacks and it's a fair bet they won't be putting themselves out of a job.

Gregg said...

Thanks for your comment.

Daz Pearce said...

The NHS and the paralysis felt by anyone trying to improve it is probably the biggest single side effect of our Statist democratic system.

First up, the 'poor, cash-starved NHS' is the single biggest employer in Europe and the third biggest globally. That's 1.7m turkeys you might be asking to vote for Xmas were you seeking election.

Was it Keith Joseph who described the NHS as 'the closest thing Britain has to an organised religion?'.

Of course he was right - people have been scared into believing that the only alternative is corpses piling up in the street, or outside hospitals having been refused for not having insurance.

Then there are the unions who happen to hold a majority stake in one of the two major political parties. So the situation has either got worse or pretty much stayed the same, depening on who was in office at the time.

Cushy numbers for the boys and no risk of lost income - hardly a recipe for consistently high service.

The co-operative model has much going for it, but there is a world of difference between that and the NHS that we know, recognise and are repeatedly told to love despite the evidence of our own eyes and experiences.

Gregg said...

How refreshing to hear commonsense responses rather than the pat glorification of the system.

I like the idea of a cooperative system, must give that more thought.