As doctors and nurses grieve for the former health service that they knew and were proud to work for, and since “goodwill” is fast disappearing, I wanted to reflect on the softer specialities, and the post-code lottery of provision. The 24/7 service planned by Mr Hunt will need all staff on rotas, and many more of them. Since sickness and absenteeism in the UK Health Services are the worst measured across organisations throughout the world, we need to think what is happening and why when an absent person or persons affect care. Why is it that doctors and nurses have locums, but psychologists, physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists do not? It is the urgency (life saving) and speed and volume of decision making, and turnover of patients that means there have to be locums for medics. If we want the whole service to function properly we need politicians to feel this will gain votes, and we are going to need locums for other staff because we all work in teams… And once we accept this, then we need to appoint enough permanent staff so that locums are not needed and we save money. Rationing out some of the softer services overtly and with due notice, especially for higher earners, would be a sensible option in these stringent times.. Insurance could also cover many more sports.
Grieving has many stages (Kubler-Ross), and the politicians are still in denial. The consultants and GPs are angry but many have moved on to reluctant acceptance of lower standards or retired. The softer specialities have been through bargaining (and failed) and are now in depression. The managers are still bargaining and in disorganisation. The public don’t understand and are in sudden shock (pre-denial) when they need the service!
Ad then there are those who no longer wish to preserve the NHS, and shed crocodile tears..