Failing to care, lowering standards, excluding trained staff (Brexit), overworking all staff, and yet we still worship the Health Services.

It really is rationing time. we are failing to care, lowering standards, excluding trained staff (Brexit), overworking all staff, and yet we still worship the Health Services. Paul Johnson reports in the Times 25th August: The NHS doesn’t deserve our hero worship – Politicia ns parrot the mantra that we have the world’s best healthcare but the facts say otherwise

Most of the patients who die because of lack of nurses are elderly. Doctors and their families dread admission and know they need a bedside advocate. We are even encouraging the valuable carers and nurses to leave, and NHSreality has facetiously suggested that we may end up exporting our elderly. In Plymouth the GPs are collapsing and the new “Queen Alexandra Superhospital” has failed the CQC assessment. Helen Puttick on August 23rd Hospitals face inquiry into too-high mortality rates

Here is the first headline finding from the OECD’s most recent set of international comparisons: “While access to care is good, the quality of care in the United Kingdom is uneven and continues to lag behind that in many other OECD countries”. That is borne out across a wide range of measures. Overall life expectancy is no more than middling. We are in the bottom third of comparable countries for cancer survival rates and in the middle third for strokes and heart attacks. In an understatement of which we British might be proud, this Paris-based organisation concludes “the UK does not excel at providing high-quality acute care”.
This is not because we have healthcare professionals who are any less dedicated than those in other countries. We do not lack will, effort, compassion. And of course we do some things well. Survival rates from cancers, strokes and heart attacks are improving, albeit from a low base. Our performance on breast and cervical screening as well as vaccination is better than most. And on many measures of efficiency, such as spending on drugs and length of hospital stays, we perform well. Yet for all that dedication and compassion, for a wealthy nation we have no more than a fair to middling health system. Some bits are good, many much less so…..

As recent work from the Nuffield Trust has shown, this is not because we spend much less than others on health. Across developed nations as a whole, and against wealthy EU nations, we spend a perfectly respectable amount: somewhat less than the French, Germans and Dutch, rather more than the Spanish and Italians….

Chris Smyth reports 28th August that “Patients die because nurses are too busy”. 


Family advocates needed? Hospital patients at risk of falls as ‘thousands cannot reach walking sticks’..

Net migration falls as EU citizens quit Britain: More than a quarter of births in England and Wales last year, 28.2 per cent, were to mothers born outside the UK, the highest level on record.

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In the first six months of this year, almost 100,000 permanent residence cards were issued to EU citizens who have been in the UK for five years.

The ONS bulletin showed that the number of EU citizens leaving the UK increased by 33,000 year-on-year to 122,000, the highest outflow for nearly a decade. There was a rise of 17,000 in departures of migrants from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, the countries that joined the EU in 2004. There was also a 19,000 fall in the numbers arriving from the EU, although the ONS said that this was not “statistically significant”.

Total EU net migration was estimated at 127,000, a dip of 51,000 on the previous 12 months. The figure for migration from the rest of the world was also down, by 14,000 to 179,000, and included 87,000 students, according to the ONS.

Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, said that the figures showed a “deeply worrying Brexodus of EU citizens who have made the UK their home”.

Some business leaders expressed alarm at the drop in numbers. A spokesman for the Institute of Directors said: “Given unemployment is currently at its lowest level ever, without the three million EU citizens living here the UK would have an acute labour shortage.”

Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, called the figures “encouraging” but added: “There is still more work to do to bring net migration down further to sustainable levels.”

Migrants from the EEA pay about six times more in tax and national insurance contributions than they take out in benefits and tax credits, HMRC figures released yesterday showed.

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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