Sunday, 19 May 2013

The British NHS needs De-Centralized

The British NHS is in desperate need of being De-Centralized and Reformed. It is the System itself that is failing. 
I wonder that we have forgotten what the NHS was originally set up to do - that is to provide good quality patient care. I have two children working as medical health professionals in the British NHS and I am both shocked and saddened by what they tell me. Patient notes are lost and basic care is neglected - such as patients being unable to reach their drinking water - and staff moral is very low.  

When the National health service was originally conceived I am sure it met a clear public service. Sadly today it appears to be a gigantic and badly managed business with ever increasing demands. The first step required, as I see it, is to de-centralised this over-bloated industry. Centralized control does not work with such a massive operation - and how can local requirements be met that way? 

We urgently need to take a look at health care systems worldwide that do work for patient care and work with no waiting lists.  How on earth can they achieve this?  I don't view America as having the perfect health care model though - I lived there for ten years and I had two children there and one child here in Scotland. It is vitally important we look at countries where the health systems ARE working for good quality care - such as in France, Sweden or Germany. One way to make improvements is that those who can afford to pay do pay. This happens in France where there are no waiting lists. This happens already in dentistry and dentists are not under such severe pressures.  

That's not to say that there are not pockets of top quality care in the service. I know several who have received excellent treatment for serious illness.

The reality is that if young medics are treated like robotic slaves and expected to work 12 hour shifts with no toilet breaks or food breaks - the system is in crisis. As they only have 4 monthly contracts now they are unable to rent accommodation near the hospitals and then they are expected to drive long distances home at dawn after such long shifts - what are we asking them to do? One young girl was killed recent in Ayrshire driving home after her 13 hour shift. Another young medic had to have a catheter fitted because she had been unable to take a toilet break. I ask myself what on earth is going on?    

How can well meaning medical staff provide the best care when they are treated badly by  a management that sits in its ivory towers and never comes down to see how it all works at the ground floor?  I'd like to tell Mr Cameron - medical staff are practically shedding blood to provide as decent a health service that they can while they are hampered by an  inadequate management system. 

I read that there is now an untrained army of medical assistants who are basically doing what nurses used to do, but with no skills to do it. While nursing staff is burdened with paper work. Why were the nursing bosses (the matrons) scrapped and I hear that the new ward managers are not clinically trained.    

The socialist ideology is that competition doesn't work (?) and that instead we should all be motivated by Targets. Now these targets require a huge amount of paperwork that no one ever reads (and this happens in education also). Well in the real world that I live in, what drives and motivates people to do better and achieve higher standards is 'competition' - sorry academics.     

Another issue that needs addressed – to inform patients perhaps with leaflets or posters about when they should be contacting their doctor and that if they take up the doctors time for no real reason it takes services away from those in real need.  Medical treatment is NOT limitless or free!  If we as patients waste these resources, if we waste hospitals and doctors time with unnecessary visits, it takes away from critical medical treatments.

Our out-of-date and over protected health service is desperately in need of improved management which includes better treatment of medical staff. The politicians like to blame the medical is time to sit up and realise it's the System itself that is failing! 

The NHS is not free either, someone has to pay for all the equipment, training for staff and ever more expensive drugs!  The recent scandal of neglect for patients at Staffordshire hospital has brought all this into focus.  Who dares to speak up?