We ‘ve all heard of the NHS crisis and known its been in trouble with its funding for quite some time. The reasons have always been around funding but the media coverage wasn’t great, to say the least, so it’s been nicely brushed under the carpet for a while. Our one big out of sight, out of mind thing that looks like it’s about to blow up.
You know what’s scarier than the media not giving a serious issue appropriate coverage? It’s when every tabloid out there, regardless of affiliation, giving it the same coverage, continuously for weeks. NHS crisis is finally on all the front pages and it’s awful and scary to see. Well, besides a few that are on a different planet this week and think all things Trump are more pressing than our national health service.
We should be terrified for our older generation and those in need right now. And indeed for the next few years. You only have to glance at #NHSCrisis on Twitter and on other social media platforms to see some of the shocking incidents that really shouldn’t be happening in a world class health care system in a first world country. In Theresa May (and her profusely nodding Jeremy Hunt) land, this translates to a “few incidents”.
Just some of these are…
The Red Cross calling the whole thing a “humanitarian crisis”. (Whilst it’s not in a war situation, surely alarm bells should be ringing in Jeremy’s ears when the RED CROSS say it’s problematic?).
20 hospitals declaring a “black alert” – the highest level of alert used, when hospitals can’t guarantee patient safety.
Diversion of 42 ambulances to other hospitals in an A&E situation. Twice the number of this time last year.
Over 52,000 trolley waits over 4 hours. The worst since records began in 2010.
Cancer operations being cancelled and suspected stroke victims having to wait over 11 hours to be seen.
Patients dying, including a woman waiting over 35 hours in a Worcestershire hospital corridor.
A lot of these are being reported not only by the tabloids, but supported by doctors themselves and I’ve never seen so many medics write so passionately about the current situation.
The two huge reasons for all of this have been cited as billions cut from social care and “chronic” underfunding of the NHS in general. Social care funding has been cut, in real terms, by 11%, a large part of which affects older and disabled people, and those in care homes. Less care and beds in care homes means slower transitions out of hospitals and beds being taken up for longer. The same for mental health. More funding has been promised for mental health care by Theresa May herself but no promises of when it might arrive.
Corporation tax cuts on the other hand, are being sped through quickly, because we are open for business blah di blah and one wouldn’t want to let a little thing like paying their rightfully owed tax stand in the way of letting huge companies make a tidy profit. One wonders why we shouldn’t keep corporation tax at its current levels and feed the money made straight into where the NHS crisis needs it the most. The same goes for all the money we’re making from those cluster bombs we’re dropping on Yemen now. I didn’t even know we were doing that until Simon Pegg popped up on my Facebook a couple of days ago. That has to add to up to a bit doesn’t it? And the £350million we’ll save (but not really because of the rebate) from our EU fee post Brexit. The government has cash. It’s infuriating to see them stand by and not fix this genuine crisis happening before our eyes.
Simon Stevens, NHS CEO has said himself they didn’t get as much as requested and the deficit amounts to a £30billon gap by 2020, with £22billion bizarrely intending to come from efficiency savings. So £8billion in real money.
May now thinks the solution to the NHS crisis is for GPs to open for longer, taking the strain off A&E. I’m not quite sure what kind of GP surgery she has. I spent a lot of time at mine last year with a new baby and small child that was catching everything, and never once did I spot a ward of beds intended to house stroke or cancer patients. Does Theresa May even understand how any of the public health services works or does she think everyone blocking a bed in A&E has a GP treatable ailment?
I’m not quite sure what Jeremy Hunt thinks about this whole thing but I always want whatever he’s having. He always looks so calm and collected, even when things are imploding all around him. I did come across an article about how he wrote a book on denationalising the NHS. Of course, he may have just been writing a pros and cons list. Kinda like Boris Johnson did with his Brexit views. It’s called “Direct Democracy: An agenda for a new model” if you like that kind of bed time reading.
The more you look at the powers that be, the more you worry. Not only for the future of the NHS, but whether this is a sign of things to come for when we finally trigger the elusive Article 50. We are handing over total control of a LOT to our current government and, so far, they haven’t been able to fix our own home grown health care institution.
You know how throughout 2016 we braced ourselves for the next celebrity death? I think 2017 (and beyond) might be time to watch some of our much loved public services disappear as we know them.