Look at the tagline to this article:
“MPs are waking up to the scale of the unnecessary destruction being wrought on the NHS. But with local NHS leaders now told to choose between sacrificing services or their careers, will it be too late?”
The answer should be obvious: Yes it will.
The reason is that the NHS is now stuffed full of administrators, when it should be full of doctors.
These people couldn’t really care less about the health service; they care about money – particularly the cash going into their own pockets.
With Jeremy Hunt and his cronies holding the cosh over them and telling them to come up with plans to restore the English NHS to financial health, they’ll cut as if they’re the ones who know how to wield a scalpel.
To This Writer’s unskilled mind, it seems likely that elective services will be first to go – hived off to private health in exactly the way Hunt always wanted it to go.
Sadly, it may be too late to do anything about it.
The creeping influence of the money people has become too pervasive. They infected the health service like a cancer, and nobody realised they were malign until it was too late.
All we can do now is bide our time, remember what is happening, and – next time we have a chance to vote on this issue – support people who actually want to run the NHS to help people’s health, rather than their own bank accounts.
More or less the only experts not vocally criticising Hunt this week were the BMA, keen to show their reasonableness by agreeing a short pause in hostilities over the junior doctors’ dispute.
But the constant stream of critical reports is only likely to strengthen the resolve of junior doctors and indeed NHS staff more widely, who are next in Hunt’s firing line.
In the last week two separate teams of academics – one team from Manchester University and one from Oxford University– have revealed that the “weekend effect” that Hunt has used as his justification for trying to impose a new contract on junior doctors, simply “does not exist”. They found that variation in death rates is merely down to the fact that patients admitted at weekends are fewer in number but sicker to start with.
And the lead author of the Oxford University study told BBC’s Today programme that in fact patients got better care at the weekends, because doctors were less distracted by endless administrative meetings. Hunt’s use of the data was “a shambles”, added Peter Rothwell (professor of neurology at Oxford University).
But you don’t need to be a neurosurgeon (or even a neurologist) to see that Hunt and his team are getting the NHS very, very wrong.
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