Come to­gether for the sake of NHS

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Paul Stainton -

We are lucky, very lucky in this coun­try; when you get ill you do not need to have a credit card strapped to your chest to re­ceive help; the NHS is there when you need it, re­gard­less of your fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances.

When your child has flu, the GP will see you now, when your part­ner needs an oper­a­tion, the con­sul­tant will re­move the tu­mour and when mum re­quires spe­cial­ist care, the nurse will pro­vide it.

At least this is how it is sup­posed to work but in­creas­ingly it doesn’t and this has prompted a vol­ley of warn­ings from nu­mer­ous bod­ies from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum.

These days op­er­a­tions are rou­tinely can­celled be­cause of a lack of beds, you can wait up to two weeks just to see a doc­tor (note, “a doc­tor,” not “your doc­tor”) and so­cial care has be­come a lot­tery now, with many not even qual­i­fy­ing for it un­der new guide­lines.

The Red Cross have called it a hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter, which may be a bit strong, but when so many voices are call­ing for ur­gent ac­tion, it would surely be stupid not to take heed.

So­cial ser­vices di­rec­tors, nurses, GP lead­ers and char­i­ties were amongst those who signed an open to the Prime Min­is­ter call­ing for a bold ap­proach rather than a duck­ing of the huge is­sues; they ar­gue that with­out fun­da­men­tal ac­tion, mil­lions of older, ill and dis­abled peo­ple will -- in their words -- “con­tinue to be badly let down”.

You only need to watch the pro­gramme, “Hospi­tal” on BBC2, which goes be­hind the scenes at five Lon­don hos­pi­tals, to see the true pic­ture of an NHS at break­ing point.

Many staff are be­ing put un­der ex­treme pres­sure to make life and death de­ci­sions, while jug­gling beds, in full to brim­ming hos­pi­tals, as con­sul­tants spend all day hang­ing around, beg­ging to be al­lowed to do their job.

Peo­ple who are ill are be­ing sent home in­stead of be­ing treated be­cause peo­ple who are more ill take prece­dence; surely this wasn’t what Be­van in­tended.

The prob­lem is com­plex; we have more peo­ple need­ing more treat­ment, whilst at the same time cut­backs in so­cial care are adding to the pres­sure on GPs and hos­pi­tals.

Peter­bor­ough City Hos- pital al­ready faces in­tense pres­sure on its ser­vices due to the weight of its PFI fi­nance deal and now, thanks to a re­cent busi­ness rate re­vue, things are set to get worse, with an­other £1.2m to find, you can ex­pect fur­ther cuts in ser­vices.

But when did a hospi­tal be­come a busi­ness? Shouldn’t they be treated the same as char­i­ties and al­lowed to spend that money on beds, nurses and doc­tors?

Many ar­gue that more fund­ing will solve all the NHS’s ills, but I am not sure that just throw­ing cash at the prob­lem will be the panacea that we all crave.

The land­scape has changed so much since the in­cep­tion of the NHS in 1948 that I think a bold, new ap­proach is needed, be­fore a creak­ing sys­tem fi­nally breaks.

So, I don’t care whether you are blue, red, yel­low, green or pur­ple, what­ever your po­lit­i­cal lean­ings, stop your bick­er­ing and points scor­ing and come to­gether for the sake of our NHS now.

The staff and the pa­tients de­serve it.

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