NHS in the news

nhs

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear news about the NHS: from the junior doctors’ strikes, the lack of funding to the staffing issues. We all need the NHS at some point in our lives, especially those of us who have experienced stroke and the urgency of attention required. Also not forgetting those of us with who have also been affected by illness. Yet there are more and more news stories warning us that this vital service does not always deliver but may actually be on the brink of collapse according to NHS Providers, the body that represents hospitals across England. Chronic understaffing, underfunding and overspending are forcing the NHS to move backwards in the direction of the 1990s when there was a visible decline.

At the end of the last financial year trusts reported the largest deficits in the history of the NHS. With an ageing population and ever more sophisticated procedures in medicine, the resources are stretched to the limit. Consistently reducing social care with cuts to the community and mental health services has led to more and more people being ‘trapped’ in wards before they can be discharged. I am sure I’m missing some vital point here but I have to ask the question, would it not help if pharmacy continued through the weekends also, as consultants do? This way patients who were not able to be discharged before close of play Friday would not have to hog a beds until Monday waiting for medication before enabling them to be discharged.

Staff shortages in all areas has led to closures of A & E departments and consequently put more pressure on those near by.

Waiting lists for operations are now at their highest point since 2007, with many of them postponed due to cancellations on the day. Hospitals are often forced to outsource work to agencies thus increasing the costs and the downward spiral.

Previous governments had been warned about these issues yet they were largely ignored.

The present government faces the question of huge investment versus a decline. One can only wish that the autumn statement on the 23rd November will bring a glimmer of hope as the alternative is that of draconian cuts to services we have always taken for granted. Sadly, some of these have already been proposed such as the suspension of non-urgent treatments for patients who are obese or are smokers. This is a slippery slope and certainly not in line with the core philosophy of the NHS. However, if investment is not made, we may all have to face such choices.

As someone already having had to rely on the NHS does this situation make you feel more vulnerable? Do you feel more frustrated due to stays in hospital and being able to witness so closely first hand examples of the sad decline, increased pressure staff are under, how things are such that however hard we try to fight it our confidence is lowered. Consultants are expected as it appears to us sitting in the beds to work ridiculous hours without a break, how are they meant to remain fresh thinking? Nurses are expected to make and serve drinks whilst carrying out their usual duties after finishing pathetically lengthy amounts of paperwork. The paperwork alone removes the personal, attentive rep our they once had and long to return and as if that were not enough there are too few on duty for the amount of patients how can they keep it up. Then the opposite of bed blocking to keep figures and budgets looking ‘tidy’ the correct amount of discharges must be made by certain dates, this in turn results in people being discharged who are not fit to be so and you guessed it they end up draining the service again through no fault of their own needing to be read utter and usually with the help of paramedics. When oh when will the government listen to patients and staff alike the people the service is meant to be about?

 

 

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