The lies around the health service are clear to all of us who have worked in and experienced the service today. Our current rulers are no different: their bribes are impossible. Ms Toynbee is correct. The denial and the collusion to deny the depth of the problem, and to acknowledge the “hard truths” around health, are preventing that essential debate. Rationing is a necessity in any health system. The future holds out genetic treatments and manipulations that will prevent disease, and enhance IQ and longevity. Without facing up to the problems of rationing overtly, the default position will be a two tier system, where the rich benefit most from the advanced treatments, and the poor remain slaves in a GIG economy. And, to cap it all, without a proper funding basis, and without leadership, Northern Ireland health staff are threatening strike action.
The Boris Johnson show can always move on to another A&E. For the health service as a whole, there is no such easy option
….” Queuing – the old NHS rationing mechanism – is back with a vengeance. With immense effort and spending, long waiting lists were finally abolished by the Labour government, proving to the many naysayers that it can be done. Today’s latest figures show A&E waiting times in England are the worst since a target of a four-hour maximum delay was introduced in 2004.
Will there be an NHS crisis during this winter election? There already is, everywhere. It’s Narnia on the wards: permanent winter, as the pressure never lets up in the summer now, with performance figures rapidly worsening year after year. The condition of the NHS is already critical,…
Look at the ruination and depredations of this decade that need to be repaired, with 15,000 missing and desperately-needed beds and 100,000 missing clinicians and nurses. Nurse and doctor training places were cut sharply in George Osborne’s first budget.
Then nursing bursaries went, haemorrhaging applicants. Even with visas for foreign medics liberated from the iron grip of the last years, new staff can’t be summoned up miraculously overnight. GPs are in critical shortage, with waiting times sorely felt by voters. Under a less pig-headed treasury, more money could instantly solve the pensions crisis that has seen waiting lists soar to 4.6 million as a third of senior doctors abandon extra shifts.
The structural damage done by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act is still under repair by the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, who is trying to pull back together into a unified service the fragments blown apart in a reform intended by the former Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley to lead to greater competition. That commissioning model still leaves postcode lotteries in provision, and money sent from the top for mental health has not been ringfenced, so it often gets diverted to other emergencies, leaving children’s mental health services especially bereft.
Mind, the mental health charity, revealed this month that vulnerable children, many with suicidal and self-harming thoughts, had 175,094 appointments cancelled in the last year, a 25% rise on the previous year. As for the crisis in social care, which leaves older people lingering on wards for much longer than they should, no one expects the Tory manifesto to dare to solve the long-term financing question, just to apply a little more cash Elastoplast to get them through the election.
Voters naturally tend to credit Labour as the safest pair of hands for running the NHS. The health service is voters’ second greatest concern after Brexit – which, contrary to that bogus Boris-bus promise, will deplete the Treasury’s ability to fund it. Month after month, worse figures will keep tumbling out the about the service. It wouldn’t take much to thrust overflowing A&Es to the top of TV news bulletins every night, because the NHS is in crisis already, with a long month still to go.
Gee Whiz – The potential for Genetic engineering from the Economist
Spin doctors – What the Conservatives say they will do. The Economist.