The “big issues” have not been addressed. Today we get the government we deserve – because of media failure. The Health Services are political footballs kicked around in a desert sandstorm.

The “big issues” have not been discussed. The media has failed us, but not their owners’ bank accounts. Leaders, CEOs and Trust Chairmen have also failed us. The austerity and the pain which citizens voted for is now a certainty. The parties’ policies are all equally impotent in the face of a poorer population. A lack of honesty and investigative reporting, a lack of nuanced argument, the language of the “Sun” and the “Mail” is equally responsible, but so is every one of us. We do get what we deserve in a democracy.

Just because we are financially poorer does not mean we have to be socially poorer. Wales and Scotland have socially based societies, and are better equipped to cope than England. The social and geographical divide in England and the UK as a whole will be evident after the election. Anyone who fails to vote should be banned from complaining in the years ahead: they have disenfranchised themselves. (Deborah Ross in the Times 8th June). The Latest contribution from Dennis Campbell in the Guardian 7th June 2017 reads: How May and Hunt constituents’ hospitals are struggling to meet targets.   

Are the politicians brain damaged former footballers? 20 years ago you could ask any minister of health in the world what was most impressive about the NHS and they would have said access and primary care. Now look at it! A political football kicked around in a desert sandstorm.

Image result for uk nhs football cartoon

Roy Lilley tweets today (and it is worth repeating in full):

You’ll know I’ve popped up early this morning.  I wanted to catch your attention.

I hope you’ll be thinking about how to fit-in a visit to the polling station.
A couple of thoughts, if I may…
This is election is not about Brexit.
Election strategists will tell you it is.  They want attract the votes of the leavers by talking tough, assuring them; there will be no back-sliding and strong leadership will deliver a deal to die for.
For the retainers they want to give the impression that skilful negotiations will give us a deal that doesn’t kill us.
The fact is, there are 27 countries who will decide what the deal is.  For them a cohesive European project is at stake.  We’ll get the deal France and Germany want.
Our future will be bound up in the fortunes of China, India and the US.
If you are reading this on the way to work you might be thinking exactly what is this election all about?
In the age of fixed-term-parliaments this early election has been engineered.  The government knows, full-well, negotiation will play a small part in our exit.  Every tiny gain will be hailed as huge success and poor terms dismissed as insignificant, hidden in the spin doctor’s lexicon.
A big majority and a cushion of backbench support will keep the engine of government ticking-over and The Maymite in Number 10… come what may.
Image result for uk nhs football cartoon
If you are reading this at work, you may have already voted.
You might be thinking, what to expect next.  Austerity is the answer.  None of the main political parties have anything like the policies needed to turn us into an enterprise economy.

Low taxes, incentives to innovate, take chances in an Uber world… all too risky at a time when no one can really predict how the economy will behave.  Stress-testing for Brexit

 is not a barrel of laughs.  The safe option; move the HQ to Frankfurt.
If you are reading this and you are an EU national with a family, expect a stress-testing time.
If you are reading this at lunchtime… you may be popping off to the polling station.
You might be thinking what it means for the NHS?  None of the parties propose policies that will fix the damage done by flat-line funding since 2010.
The King’s Fund have a fabulous quick-look-comparator.
The NHS costs £2bn a day to run.  A focus on eye-watering efficiency and effectiveness, reshaping where services are provided and by whom, is inevitable.
In the medium term; nothing like the staff numbers we need, primary-care unprepared for any significant shift in service redesign.
STPs, without sorting out better communications plans, will implode under the weight of squabbles and interminable arguments with a vocal and an informed public and their lawyers, over closures, cuts and relocations.
Another five years of getting by, struggling on and occasional flashes of brilliance to remind us how fortunate we are.
Image result for desert sandstorm cartoon
You may be reading this in the afternoon.
TV and radio stations will be reporting turn-out and hopefully not about an attempt to disrupt the election.  You might be thinking about who will keep us safe?  More guns, more laws…
If you are reading this on the way home… 
… your day may have been full of trying to find work-arounds to keep services going.  You may have been trying to plan reconfigurations, filling rota gaps, battling regulators, working short-staffed and muddling through.
Making the NHS work as only talented managers and staff can.
If you are catching up with the day and are at home reading this; I hope you made it to the polling station.  Or, if not, there is still time.
Elections are a time for economists, strategists, sociologists and investors.
That means you…
You are an economist.  You manage a budget, if not a work, at home.  You have an instinctive grasps of money and know you can’t spend a pound twice and you can’t make one pound do the job of two.
You are a strategist; you plan, you think things through, you decide what good looks like and how to get it.
You are a sociologist; you are a people person, knowing what makes people tick and how to get the best from them.
You are an investor; at home and at work.  You invest your time and love and attention and your taxes, knowing small investments will only give you small returns.  You get what you pay for.
General elections have become an exercise for the mass media.  Ignore them.  The fact that elections are possible is the important thing.  
There is never a good time for a tough decision.
I just hope, today, you’ll find the time to make one.


Jenni Russell in the Times 8th June 2017: The Brexit catastrophe is only just beginning


Image result for health football cartoon

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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