The National Health Service. The most efficient health service in the world. Not a phrase you hear very often. Normally the headlines say ‘doctor errors’ or ‘ long waits’ or even ‘NHS wasting money’.
But over the years the NHS has grown from a basic service that focussed on minor problems to a nationally recognise healthcare system, free to all at the point of care. No matter your age, work status, back ground or health problem.
Healthcare in the United Kingdom achieves something all services want to deliver, equality and diversity. From its workers to the patients.
So why do politicians like to say ‘it’s the crown of the country’ while saying ‘it’s to inefficient and costly’? Why do politicians even get involved with the institution when the experts already work in the sector?
Many years ago while contradicting various statements they made, politicians decided that the American system made more sense. More specifically the idea that competition drives change and improvement. And they decided that the money in healthcare must be split between the people holding the money, and the organisation delivering the service who would be paid by the other organisation who would choose not only the organisation delivering the service, but are they doing the job properly.
This idea or concept or whatever it was called, oh yeah: world class commissioning. And so every area or Primary Care Trust as they were known, got to visit America to learn from them.
So, a few issues soon presented themselves. Firstly, America of all places to get advice about a healthcare system. Keeping in mind that the system is not equal for all in the states. In fact, it is separated between the have and have nots. Oh, you need surgery, are you insured. Your not, 80,000 please. You don’t have it, go home and die.
Secondly, we now have commissioners who hold the money and decide where it gets invested and for what reasons. The commissioners cost money and decide what cost saving is required of the provider.
Thirdly, healthcare is also overseen by the Department of Health, Care Quality Commission, NHS Digital, NHS England and it goes on. We have more people watching healthcare than providing it.
So why was this put in place? The reason given was to improve health services. The real reason was cost saving and off loading of responsibility. For example, if something goes wrong in a hospital, it’s their fault. Not the government or the commissioner. A new contract to cover the service goes else where. Which will include cost savings, reorganisation and lots of back slapping saying ‘good job’.
Meanwhile within the NHS, the staff are keeping things going with good will, poor conditions and constant belittling from news papers and news outlets.
The NHS has been in crisis for over 6 years now. I think it’s fair to say the experiment has failed and maybe, maybe, it’s time to let the NHS do what they do best.
Save money by removing commissioning and move to a holistic NHS approach across the country. Invest the saved money back into services. Let the CQC and NHS England do the job of keeping an eye on the services and research where money should be spent.
Let a consortium of professionals run the NHS from GP, Hospital, Mental Health, Community and Social Care. These people can ensure funding is spent properly and invest accordingly depending of evidence, not political or financial gain.
Currently the NHS is relying on good will and dedication by the people who bleed white and blue. Before long if we are not careful a do not resuscitate order will be put in place and we, the ones who care about the NHS will be arguing to save it’s life.
I leave you with this. If you can save a life save it, if you can help a living creature help it and most of all, if you can afford to buy a Costa coffee everyday you can afford to pay more tax to help the people who one day may save your life.
So why do politicians play about with the NHS and contradict themselves? The same reason people will follow rock stars or actors around like lost puppies. “They be famous, I could be too”.