It is no accident that this piece has NHS as its title. Being retired I now have time to study and look at the news in greater detail. The News Has Significance or NHS is because there have been several recent stories that could be testing public opinion about future patterns of health care.
First was the striking statement by President Trump on 4 June- the National Health Service would form part of negotiations over a possible future trade deal between the UK and US.
Then was the news that NHS waiting times have increased significantly
This was linked to number of doctors who are retiring early due to the impact of public sector pension reforms introduced by the Labour Government and with tightening of these terms under the Conservative Government.
Interestingly this was the topic of a question asked at the hustings prior to the selection of Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative party. Its importance can be seen as this featured in two front page article the very next day
From what I can see little progress on this issue has occurred as this would require real consideration and action.
Instead there are stories of elderly people having to fend for themselves
Or the options of resorting to seeing a private GP. Hardly a solution for many and rapidly un-affordable for any kind of chronic condition- particularly if you need to be referred on and so having to pay for other consultations or services.
The NHS have already worked out a personal health care budget. So the details are already being gathered about us all, so that this could be covered by an insurance policy. So its worth thinking how closely you are following the latest advice on looking after your health in case you might have to submit these details to obtain cover.
Health care insurance is not a solution for all however. I well remember the family I met in the USA many years ago. He had a respectable and well paying job in sales. Unfortunately he was made redundant and just then one of their children got scarlet fever (most unusual in the UK). Because of that they had no income, no job related health care insurance. Therefore they were not able to afford access to any health care for her. This reflects the day to day reality of a privatised health care system- if you do not have health care insurance-generally linked to ones job.
Then we have the current situation where politicians make election campaign visits to hospitals. The promise more money and also promise to build many new hospitals. The unanswered question is where the staff for these places will come from. New rules for immigration and professional registration regulations will need to be put in place as a result of Brexit.
Never mind they say, we’ll have video consultation with GP’s and Specialists- completely ignoring the fact that the person/patient who is most in needed do not have a high speed internet connection or computer or webcam. Surprisingly I also understand that much of the information for a health assessment come from the consultation room- the way the person sits down or gets up or how easily they can undress or other things. Remember also that a 10 minute face to face consultation is also the same 10 minutes for a video consultation. The scarcest resource at this time is professionals time- the internet merely draws differently from the same limited pool.
The technological solution has that appearance of the ” white heat of technology” and makes for a good sound bite and evening news headline.
I just would wish that we had an informed wide ranging discussion on the issues. Including that Finger of Fudge which is so symbolic of one key issue, that of the health impact of obesity.
There have also been articles quoting the costs of obesity to the NHS
Never the less one needs to reflect and see if these various articles are just testing the political waters for the next reorganisation of the NHS.
If the people/staff/patients do not feel valued then clever objectives will always fail
HEE has been trying to address this but the politics do not seem to be following the same message
The BMA has also made a significant contribution
The Financial Times has added its own commentary. https://www.ft.com/content/1861b144-ff05-11e9-b7bc-f3fa4e77dd47
So when the prospective MP comes to call on you engage him about their views on money, staffing, and any views about privatising the NHS or involvement of American Health Care providers.
Alternatively perhaps it would be better that our politicians took a few minutes to watch the Yes Minister programme about the fully staffed but empty hospital. It was apparently complete built and all administrative staff and porters, cleaners etc were employed. There was however a Government cut back at the time the medical staff were due to be employed. So the place was never able to open and function as a hospital but ran very efficiently!!
I hope this inspires you to look again at all those claims about the NHS and the promises made during the General Election.