The NHS is dying – where’s the ambulance? Now is the time to question the diagnosis..

The Mail on Sunday 11th October 2015 reports that The NHS is dying – where’s the ambulance?

Sir Hughes-Hallet should be heeded. You have been warned.. Two articles in the Guardian reinforce the lack of firm ideological foundation. Alistair Burt – Social care minister calls for return to multi-generational households and Thousands of cancer patients die needlessly due to referral delays

For millions, the NHS is the single most important institution in our country. It is the battleground upon which the last election was waged – and which David Cameron promised to preserve and protect with a vast infusion of our money.

Which is why today’s intervention from one of its most eminent custodians is so profoundly alarming.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, a hugely influential figure within Britain’s big teaching hospitals, argues passionately on this page just how close to crisis the NHS now teeters.

He talks of abject confusion at every level… a mass exodus of doctors… rock-bottom morale… and hospitals on the brink of bankruptcy.

Look at the current landscape: according to NHS England, by 2020 the service will need an extra £30 billion a year just to stand still. By comparison, the police cost us £12 billion.

Yes, the Tories are now pumping £116 billion into the NHS in England every year, up from £100 billion when they came to power in 2010.

But Sir Thomas convincingly argues this is simply not enough to guarantee the round-the-clock service that we have been promised: in just the three months between April and June, trusts overspent by a total of nearly £1 billion, more than their combined deficit for the whole of 2014. And it is not even winter yet.

Most people pay only limited attention to such mind-boggling figures. Quite understandably, they just want the service to work for them and their families, and are distressed when it fails to do so.

Sir Thomas argues that without radical new thinking there is a real danger that the NHS will effectively go bust.

He raises an unpalatable reality: if we are to have the health service we have been promised, patients may have to pay for the privilege – breaking the sacred bond between patients and an NHS free at the point of delivery.

Now the question is: when will we get an honest diagnosis?

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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