Disgraceful leadership, and a longstanding culture of fear. Successive PMs of all colours are to blame. Spending money on bribing the electorate will bring only short term gains..

In 2008 when the first inkling of a scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford arose, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.  In 20113 and 2015 it was David Cameron. No political party is excused form the demise of the 4 UK health services. Thee situation in your average DHG has become so bad that the staff are often disengaged from their reality. In General Practice part time working has led to part time responsibility. Standards are falling, and these two hospitals are only the tip of a national iceberg. An election is an opportunity to have a new dispensation, but Wales, despite a completely failed self-governing elite, wants the election to be about their “Welsh health service”, with the worst results in the UK. All parties are aware of this failure, but the politics of Wales means that there is no debate on devolution, despite the small majority that bought it in. Prospective MPs, who spend most of their 4 dormant years denying that they have any influence on health (or education) are now claiming that their party will improve it. Denial means that the 15 year lead in is ignored. 

More and more people, for serious illnesses, or because there is no GP access, are having to attend A&E. The last place new doctors choose to work is A&E, (because of the shift work) and the first person patients see is a triage nurse, and then a novice junior, before they eventually meet someone who can make a diagnosis or initiate treatment. (Often many hours later).

The whole system is failing. Shewsbury and Telford is just a bellweather indicator, as was Morecombe 5 years earlier, for all the DGHs in the 4 UK health dispensations.

If we had started to recruit 10 years ago, ( P.M. was Mr Blair) we would just be starting to get a few extra. If we had started 15 years ago (Mr Blair took over from Mr Major) we would not have the staffing problems we have now. We would still however have the plant problems, with insufficient scanners, old hospitals with high infection rates, and the culture of fear. This latter is multi-faceted, but the main reason is the disengagement of physicians in hospital with management skills. In other countries ( Canada, USA, France, Germany, Holland ) the managerial beast has not been able to dominate like it has in the UK. The result has been false performance indicators, over management, and treating hospitals like a factory production line.

Midwifery, Doctor Training and Neonatal Care – all need improvement NHS reality 2015 (P.M. Mr Cameron)

Furness – the chronology of endemic denial. “Loving the NHS to Death” NHSreality 2013 (P.M Mr Cameron)

BBC News today 19th November: Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital: Babies and mums died ‘amid toxic culture’  (P.M. now is Mr Johnson, but 10 years ago it was Mr Brown)

Owain Clarke reports for the BBC 19 November 2019: General election 2019: Why the NHS is still an election issue in Wales

NHS 70: The health service in Wales – in 10 charts – Steve Duffy 2018

3 More of us are going to accident and emergency

A&E graphic


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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