Governments can do a great deal of harm in health… Aneurin Bevan’s dream is being replaced by a greater fear…

Successive governments have ignored the health disparities as well as the wealth ones, A short term approach to recruitment and manpower, without realising the great benefit of home trained professionals, with linguistic and cultural approaches similar to their patients, has been partly to blame. Goodwill has disappeared, Medical students are training abroad… generating a possible “medical caste”, and who knows, it may be that our elderly will have to go abroad to be cared for now that immigration is to be restricted. People on high salaries (and pensions), decision makers, politicians, trust board directors, etc are in an elite position in the UK, They are able to choose and opt out of the state provided health option when it suits them, This is not so for the majority. Aneurin Bevan’s dream is being replaced by a greater fear…

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David Brown reports in The Times 4th July: Hospital gave 1.6m records to Google for medical trial

The government trusted Google (like a bear playing with a salmon) and gave it information without patient’s informed consent, and David Brown reports this in the Times: Hospital gave 1.6m records to Google for medical trial

and Chris Smyth reports Recruitment crisis for NHS as record number of nurses quit (originally Nursing numbers fall as more leave the profession than join).

The number of nurses has gone down for the first time in almost a decade after a record proportion quit last year.

There has been a 50 per cent surge in people giving up the job in recent years, meaning thousands more are leaving the profession than joining. It has led to warnings of an escalating staffing crisis.

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Ministers will be under greater pressure to raise NHS salaries after a week of conflicting signals and reports of division in the cabinet over relaxing a cap on public sector pay.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, is seeking a meeting with the chancellor to press the case for a rise for nurses, who earn £31,000 on average.

Nurses complain of having to treat extra patients without enough staff support and almost half of those leaving cite working conditions as a reason, according to data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

All nurses and midwifes must be registered with the council to work in Britain. Jackie Smith, its chief executive, highlighted pressure on the NHS: “Our figures show for the first time that there are more nurses and midwives leaving the register than joining it.”
The number of nurses and midwives fell by 1,783 to 690,773 in the financial year 2016-17 as 20 per cent more people quit the profession than joined it. The drop appears to be intensifying, with a further fall of 3,264 in April and May alone.
Although the number of new nurses dipped slightly last year, it is still higher than it was in 2012, and the change is driven mainly by an exodus of established staff. Last year 34,941 people left nursing, up 27 per cent in a year and 51 per cent on 2012-13.

Janet Davies, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These figures are the starkest warning yet that nurses have put up with too much for too long. Our members have had enough, and as a result the profession is shrinking. Patients are paying the price for the government’s failure to plan for the future and it looks set to get worse.”

The union is planning a summer of protests against the government’s decision to cap public sector pay rises at one per cent, saying nurses are £3,000 worse off in real terms than they were in 2010. Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, accused ministers of “catastrophic” planning, saying the figures “should be a badge of shame for Theresa May’s unstable government. Their neglect of the NHS workforce, combined with endless pay restraint, is driving people out of health professions.”

Fears centred on overseas staff since recent figures showed the number of EU nurses registering in Britain had collapsed by 96 per cent since the Brexit vote in June last year. However, the latest figures show a potentially more serious problem among British nurses, who make up a much larger share of the workforce. Last year 45 per cent more home-grown nurses quit than started.

Although total nursing numbers dipped between 2008 and 2010 when hospitals cut back on overseas recruiting, the NMC said it could not recall a similar outflow of established staff.

Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes and a former nurse, told the Radio 4 Today programme that “pay-related resentment” was steadily building among hospital staff.

“Frontline staff feel as if they have carried these public services for years and are getting little for their hard work,” she said. “There is a very difficult decision for the government to make. Nursing is a very different beast these days, the pressure is higher than when I was working.

“Austerity is not over and we cannot afford to start spending too much again, but experienced nurses are voting with their feet at the moment and if they aren’t being paid enough they will opt to do something else.”

Staff goodwill is draining away
Pay is not the main reason why nurses say they are leaving, but it is hard to disentangle stagnating wages from wider frustrations. Hospitals are getting busier and relying more heavily on staff goodwill to put in extra hours unpaid. The staff are increasingly fed up (Chris Smyth writes).

The warning signs have been there for some time, highlighted most notably by the independent pay review body, which warned in March: “In too many places, the default strategy to deal with significant increases in patient demand within a slowly increasing budget is by expecting NHS staff to work more intensively, in more stressful working environments, for pay that continues to decrease in real terms. We do not consider this a sustainable position.”

The warning made an impression on Mr Hunt and, as cabinet discipline frays, he has started to say so. In his first appearance after the election he implied that he was pressing the chancellor for cash, telling the NHS Confederation that he had a “great deal of sympathy” for nurses’ case for a pay rise.

While the case for a pay rise is stronger, the question of how to meet it creates a paradox: without more money for the NHS, a bigger rise would mean hospitals cutting staff to balance their books.

Philip Aldrick in The Times – Elite must recognise the danger of inequalities they help to produce.

read the whole text: Elite – Philip Aldrick

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, 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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