Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The NHS - it's about care, not just money

Last week I took an opportunity when I met a number of very senior figures in the Conservative party, including the Prime Minister, to discuss current events in the NHS, particularly the hospital trusts which have been placed in Special Measures, and especially those in Cumbria.

The most depressing thing about the whole business is that nobody, but nobody, in West or North Cumbria, inside or outside the NHS and on either side of the political divide, is pretending to be surprised  by what the inspectors found.

I know that people had been raising concens along the same lines with me since my first visits to Cumbia in 2004 during the selection process to pick the Conservative candidate for Copeland for the 2005 General Election.

I duly raised those concerns with NHS leaders in private and was assured that they were being addressed.

The first problem with raising them too forcefully was that everyone knew terrible morale in the local hospitals was one of the problems, and nobody wanted to make public comments that were likely to make that problem even worse. The second was that we were all only too aware that some people in London who think you only need one hospital per million patients wanted to close hospitals like the West Cumberland and were terrified of giving them ammunition. Instead we tried to get the problems given attention by raising them in private.

And it obviously didn't work.

Never mind all the party political screaming over this, the government is right to take action about the problems in the 11 hospital trusts and, going forward, we need to find a way in which people can raise problems with the NHS without fear of making matters worse or being seen as attacking the NHS.

The other really important point on these hospitals is that we must recognise that it's about care, not just money.

There are many good people in the NHS who work hard for patients, but we must not be afraid to tackle problems whenever and wherever they arise.


Jim said...

I do not disagree that its about care not just money, but the thing is there are cheaper methods out there that tend to deliver better care.
We should not fear NHS reform, we should embrace it as a nation. Who of us does not want to live in a country which provides the best health care on the planet, if doing so means we also save a lot of money in the process, then even better.

On a side note, I must say you have surprised me today Chris, I was expecting to visit and be even more flooded with info about how "its a boy" and you wishing the royal family well, so glad you did not, thanks for the break.

Chris Whiteside said...

Absolutely 100% agree

Of course I am delighted that Wills and Kate hae a healthy child, but I could not think of anything original to write on that subject which thousands of others would not be saying.

Whereas I hope and think that what I had to say about the NHS was rather more original.