Don’t fall ill after 5pm: an orchestrated bludgeoning of the NHS?

Don’t fall ill after 5pm: an orchestrated bludgeoning of the NHS?  If the news over the past few months is anything to go by, your GP will be lost in the out-of-hours abyss, the 111 service will give the wrong advice (when they eventually answer the phone) and your nearest A&E (I won’t say local) will have disappeared over the precipice under the weight of patients.  And the good news is…?

Each day seems to herald another bludgeoning of the NHS, be it the state of the ambulance service, hospitals, GPs, GP out of hours services or the already much maligned 111 non-emergency helpline.  Someone somewhere appears to be playing PR chess on the ‘health board’, with each of the services functioning as the pieces.  Knight takes rook – let’s bash nurses’ training!

No one denies that the NHS is in need of reform.  With the recent cuts in funding, its imperfections have been even more painfully exposed, but doesn’t it feel as though someone is twisting the knife?

NHS-111-LOGO-FINAL-CMYK-BLK_250x400Why the daily demolition of GP out of hours services and the new NHS 111 service?  There are problems, yes, as there were with NHS Direct, and any ‘serious untoward incident’ (SUI) does require immediate investigation.  But many GP OOH providers are now operating a good service – had you heard that?

The government is blaming the change to doctors’ contracts in 2004 allowing GPs to opt out of offering out-of-hours services for the invasion of A&E.  Labour blames the winding down of NHS Direct, which did ultimately have an impressive record in dealing with enquiries promptly.  Political football, anyone?

But who benefits from this chipping away at whatever confidence we might have had in the NHS, more specifically of the GP out of hours service?  All proof that GPs are indispensable (pardon the pun)?  Is it to encourage us to care for ourselves and loved-ones at home to avoid clogging waiting lists and targets?  Or is about pushing us to private health care?  Whatever the agenda, the result is confusion.

The population is growing and we’re living longer.  An already struggling NHS needs to cope with increasing demand.  How about a united front in helping to reconstruct our essential health care services?  It isn’t a game: it really is a matter of life or death.

Please put your political footballs away Mr Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham … for the good of the NHS.

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One Response to Don’t fall ill after 5pm: an orchestrated bludgeoning of the NHS?

  1. People come from all over the world, seeking treatment on our NHS because it is the best out there….. Surely that says something about the quality of the service to which we are all entitled – FREE and which we do not cease to beat up? In 1948 when the NHS was launched its purpose was primarily to restore health to an unhealthy population who were struggling to even have enough to eat after the war; it was for those brave souls coming back from fighting in the war, for young mums expecting the next generation, and for the painfully thin and ailing children of this country, to restore some health to the nation. Now we are well fed, overfed, obese even, and are lashing out at the kind hand which fed us. Why? Are we blind? Can’t we see that we’re putting far too much pressure on the resources?
    I had reason to use 111 very recently and couldn’t have had better, kinder, more professional service from start to finish. Too many of us want too much for nothing. Surely we should be grateful for what we have? Every individual I know who works in the NHS couldn’t work harder, couldn’t be more dedicated. Let’s cut them some slack and open our eyes. Unfortunately, the more we read/hear/say something, the more we believe it, so because we hear/read so much slagging off of the NHS we believe it is rotten to the core. It isn’t. It’s precious, let’s value it, let’s cherish those who work in it, and let’s be grateful for what we get from it, and perhaps then some of the problems will start to be resolved.

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