The public won’t be fooled by the government on the NHS

The government will try and blame the failure of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust on the NHS. The public won't buy it.

Last week was a momentous one for the NHS. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement on Lewisham Hospital occupied all corners of the press.

Added to this we had the action of Lord Owen, who joined the March to save Lewisham Hospital and launched his Amendment Bill to re-instate the core principles of the NHS and protect services from marketisation.

The Labour Party and the National Health Action Party have declared their support – and in the face of the current assault on the health service by the coalition it is a much needed move from within the parliamentary portals.

To return to the outside world, now that the reality of Hunt’s decision about the Lewisham hospital #Lewishambles has started to embed itself in the national reality it’s time to cast our eyes further afield.

Not only have we witnessed the government announcing their decision to dismantle a brand new, successful and solvent A&E and accompanying acute facilities in Lewisham, but we can now see that the whole A&E system is about to be dragged into it’s very own emergency situation.

To look at the specifics: The coalition has missed its own reduced waiting time targets for the last 17 consecutive weeks, with an extra million patients waiting more then four hours.

Even worse, the ambulance back-up situation is nearing breaking point, with patients waiting for up to 11 hours in ambulances before entering A&E (moreover, I have just heard of one elderly patient waiting in an ambulance for over 18 hours).

In some regions, fewer than seven in 10 ambulance calls are reaching the most serious cases within the eight minute target – and more than 11,138 ambulances are waiting over 30 minutes outside of A&E departments.

Far from protecting the NHS – 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron became PM and one in six hospitals now have inadequate staffing levels in A&E – the government is plowing on with a wholesale destabilisation of the NHS and lying about it.

Tomorrow we will see the release of the long awaited Francis Report, which is sure to reveal shocking levels of maladministration and malpractice in Mid-Staffordshire Trust – which was overseen by the current NHS CEO, Sir David Nicholson.

With the pressures which the current regime are placing on the system it’s likely there will be more rather than less terrible instances like that seen in Mid-Staffs.

However, if the government see fit to try to use this to smear the NHS, they may find the public aren’t so easily duped.

38 Responses to “The public won’t be fooled by the government on the NHS”

  1. blarg1987

    And how many are in America? I accept the NHS has its flaws and been poorly managed in recent years (PFI and outsourcing of cleaning etc). But what is a better alternative that offers good value for money?

  2. LB

    Well the NHS is bumping them off at an alarming rate.

  3. LB

    The main structural issue with the NHS is that its insurer, supplier and regulator rolled into one.

    So, if you’re crap as a supplier, what better than to self regulate? That way, you just say you’re good. Hence Stafford. If you’re insure and supplier, what the heck, you don’t need to be efficient. Where’s the average person going to go? We can post code lottery, increase waiting lists, and deny treatment that way.

    So we need to separate supplier, from regulator, from insurer. The supplier insurers do not need to be monopolies.

    So which feature of the NHS do people fear losing if it goes? They fear being uninsured, and they fear not being able to afford the payments.

    So lets deal with them in turn. There are plenty of countries, for example Switzerland that has universal coverage. There are 3 rates of payment. Children, 18-25 year olds, and those above. Each with a fixed rate. You have to have insurance.

    Interestingly insurers can refuse to insure you. With refusals, you go to the local administrators, and they pick an insurer out of the hat, pro rata to market share, and they become your insurer at the standard cost. Everyone gets to be insured, insurers know they will get a market share of the bad risks, and not all of them. Since insurer isn’t supplier, it doesn’t affect your treatment.

    That leaves those without the money to afford health care. Same as the UK, if you can’t afford food, you get money from other people via the state.

    Last time I looked, its was 10% more than the UK, but the quality I would put at double that here.

    I’ll compare two. My brother ripped his hand between his ring and middle finger, down to his wrist. Terminator style, in that you could see the tendons working. 8 hours in A&E and they sent him home. GF got bitten by a dog on the hand, tearing the skin off the back of her hand. Friday night, in Zurich. Off to A&E. Triage nurse, then A&E doctor, then the head of A&E, then they called in an hand surgeon. The concern with injuries like this is that you get an infection, and it damages the nerves cause long term issues. They are a different order of quality.

    We need to separate out the three strands. That removes the conflict, and it drives up quality. People might also realize just what it costs too. They then use it carefully, or they drive the price down, or push for increases in quality because they want value for money.

    America is a shit system, which is why the left spout on about it. Then when they lose that, its losing the NHS means pre-Victorian surgery. Or that you won’t have hospitals without the NHS, except that most of them were set up before the NHS’s existence.

    Time to move on, and get a health system that works, rather than one that kills 20,000+ a year.

    PS, if you chop the wrong leg off in CH, you won’t be working again as a doctor in that country. In this country, literally, you get away with murder. And I’m quite serious having seen on surgeon kill off one of their mistakes.

  4. blarg1987

    I think there are many flaws but one of the biggest has been self inflicted in that we have wanted more monitoring and better value for money, nurses used to treat patients and that was it, now they have more paper work then ever, matrons have been replaced by managers all in the name of efficency and accountability.

    All sysstems have a certain amount of burocracy and paper work, trouble is we have gone to far, how many times do we hear accountability during the election, the NHSS has become an ass covering exercise as things only go downhill.

    If the NHS goes back to basics and simplifies by just getting on with its job which is to treat people, not have centralised targets or makie savings but give people the treatment they need for the patients long term need then quality will rise.

    This will mean lesss paperwork which the media will scream as losss of accountability but be interesting to compare the papwer work NHS staff have to do here compared to USA and other european models I bet it is a hell of alot more.

  5. Newsbot9

    Yes, alarmingly low for you.

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