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We've had a long email from G** A**** who lives on the south coast and has worked in the NHS for 25 years. Here's what he thinks about Mr.Bliar's New Age NHS .
• Reduced numbers of staff are working flat out to try and meet criteria. Staff and patient safety is being compromised. Staff are treated with contempt by management who bully and harass them to keep within budgets.
• Wards are closing and being abandoned, often palliative care wards so that the people who suffer are the elderly and the elderly mentally ill. Our society claims to be caring towards the elderly, but actually they are seen as a budgetary burden of no more use to society.
• The retirement age is to be raised in some of the hardest, worst-paid and most socially important professions. Conveniently, many people will die before they get what is due to them. The government has mismanaged our money, and we have to bear the consequences; if it had been invested wisely there would be no problem.
• Gordon Brown is giving 8 billion in overseas aid to help education. Funny, we thought from listening to Tony Bliar that it was our education system that was in crisis. When are politicians going to realise that things overseas are never going to change? Until the corrupt governments are removed from power, our generous gifts will be siphoned off and will not reach the people they're intended for. Would this money not be better spent on the NHS? Or is it more a matter of enabling Gordon Brown to present a soft and cuddly caring image before he becomes Prime Minister?
• Bureaucracy in the NHS is so massive that any meagre increase in funding is swallowed up by IT and office staff long before it reaches the wards. At St.James' Hospital in Portsmouth, clinical nurse specialists have had their title changed to "Modern Matron", with a nice salary increase. Yet the wards are being run with fewer and fewer nurses.
• As reported recently in the Portsmouth Evening News, the local NHS Trust has brought in a private company to do eye operations, and is paying them more than the normal NHS cost of such procedures. Does this make financial sense? No, it probably doesn't - but no doubt these operations can be buried in the Trust accounts somehow to make the whole operation look more cost-effective.
• NHS managers award themselves massive pay rises for a job they do badly. They lack the guts to tell their political masters that current policies do not work and that more money is needed. Managers' pay should be capped, and their salaries should be determined nationally by an independent authority.
• The proud boast that the NHS is "free at the point of delivery" has become a huge joke - or it would be, if it weren't so tragically serious. Cancer-sufferers have to fight in the courts to get the herceptin treatment they need. In East Suffolk the healthcare trust are refusing some treatments to obese people, and others to children, an abuse of human rights which will sooner or later have to be tested in the courts as well. Where's the sense in denying treatment to save money, when eventually the trusts are going to spend ten times more to fight their losing battles in court? Perhaps they'll realise the folly of this short-sighted attitude when patients start filing massive claims for the psychological torment they have caused - it happens in America so it's bound to happen here eventually.
• The budget for East Hants Trust last year was one and a quarter million in the red. It was the year before that, as well. This year by reducing overtime, agency staff and ward staffing, they clawed this amount back. Now they're so pleased with themselves that they've decided to implement even more cuts next year - after all, it worked once so presumably it'll work again . won't it? Meanwhile the front line staff are under ever-increasing pressure, and are going sick and resigning en masse.
G** A**** feels so strongly about the parlous state of the health service he has worked for so long and faithfully, that he has written to Tony Bliar and the Secretary of State for Health. He's asked the GOS not to publish his name because he knows that he works in an environment where bullying and unfair treatment of staff are normal 'nuff said.
The GOS has written before about the NHS, and the crap managers who run the service into financial difficulties and then expect patients to tolerate cuts in a service most of them have spent their working lives paying for. He would be pleased to hear from anyone else with inside knowledge of the NHS.


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