Friday, 14 August 2009

Hypersensitivity On NHS

What is it about our 'sacred cow' that any criticism or comment on the subject of its effectiveness, service or cost brings forth such condemnation from members of the three main political parties? The latest person to pass a critical comment and thus suffer vilification is Daniel Hannan MEP who has had the temerity - in the eyes of the politicians and others - to suggest that all is not as perfect as it seems.

What started as an idea whereby paying into a fund that ensured when you required medical treatment you received it has resulted in the organisation created to provide that treatment being turned into what can only be described as an arm of the government and, as such, has become politicised.

With regard to 'all not being as perfect as it seems', this is certainly true and is something witnessed first hand. When my mother was in hospital in Reading, whilst it could be said that nursing staff were present, it seemed the majority had great difficulty in understanding even the most basic elements of the English language. Coupled with this, word has reached me recently of an instance whereby a doctor, with just a few days experience on a particular psychiatric ward had to deal, unsuccessfully, with a suicide attempt which had been carried out using the razor that had been issued 'as a matter of course' upon admission, not 24 hours earlier. Having since given up working in the NHS hospital concerned the doctor, a graduate, has levied charges of 'no controls', 'crazy and poor management' coupled with a 'complete lack of resources'.

With regard to the 'politicising' of the NHS, in December 2008 Liverpool Primary Care Trust wrote to Liverpool City Council demanding that any film featuring actors smoking should be given a '18 certificate' as the British Board of Film Classification's 'unwillingness to classify films showing smoking as unsuitable for under 18 year olds was 'unacceptable' and that therefore Liverpool City Council should invoke the powers they possess, under Section 20 of the Licensing Act 2003, and override any BBFC classification.

When one considers that the administrative staff outnumber the medical staff, surely even the most densest of politicians must appreciate that 'there is something wrong'. Surely where, as now, the NHS has to treat more and more people who have not 'paid into the fund', 'there is something wrong'. Surely trying to run a system, conceived in a different time and under different social conditions, and expect it to operate effectively 60 years later means that 'there is something wrong'.

It is not the 'idea' that is at fault, more the structure under which it has to operate that is the problem. Governments have proved to be the worst managers of any enterprise, consequently it never ceases to amaze that politicians still cling to the idea that government can 'manage'.

Maybe the 'wrong people' are in our mental institutions?

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