Just in the last few days these news items reveal the truth. Despite this the “R” word can never be acknowledged by politicians. None since Enoch Powell has embraced the truth. (Described by Richard Smith, former BMJ editor as “the best book written on the NHS”. A new look at medicine and politics: 1975 and after. Pitman Medical 1976. 2nd edition. )
Why do you think we had no PET scanners until 20 years late! Why are there waiting lists longer than any other G7 country (and the results to match)? Why have the two countries that emulated the original NHS reconsidered? (NZ and Scandinavia). Why are we only appointing 1 doctor for every 10 who apply and have been encouraged to do so by their careers officers? Why are botched operations so commonplace? Why does the NHS Ombudsman produce reports which have no notice taken? Do the politicians read these reports?
If you believe in honesty and transparency why not use the correct word? We will never win the hearts and minds of the health service staff if politicians and media and public collude in the language of denial.
In The Guardian 30th August 2019 Dennis Campbell: ‘Crumbling’ hospitals putting lives at risk, say NHS chiefs – Four in five NHS trust bosses in England fear Tory squeeze on capital funding poses safety threat
This is particularly important for Pembrokeshire and West Wales as we have a long distance over difficult roads to travel to Swansea at present. Our planned new Hospital, wherever it is, needs Radiotherapy, Radio Isotope Investigations, and STENT treatment for Coronary Heart Disease if our options are to be the same as those in more favoured areas. I reproduce the article at the bottom of this post.
Britain ranked last (out of 20 rich countries) by a wide margin in the number of CT and MRI scanners per head of population. Australia has six times as many CT scanners per head, and spends roughly the same as Britain on healthcare overall as a share of GDP.
Almost half of NHS trusts are using outdated radiotherapy machines that are far less effective at killing cancer cells to treat patients.
The revelation comes days after the UK came bottom of an international league for cancer survival rates in The Lancet Oncology journal.
In 2016 the NHS said it was investing £130m in upgrading radiotherapy equipment but the figures, revealed via freedom of information requests, found 46% of trusts are still using outdated linear accelerator (Linac) machines beyond their recommended 10-year lifespan.
Dr Jeanette Dickson, president of the Royal College of Radiologists, said more advanced radiotherapy techniques enable “greater precision when targeting specific tumours and have been shown to be less harmful to surrounding tissue than older types of radiotherapy, depending on the complexities of the cancer being treated”.
Rose Gray, policy manager of Cancer Research UK, said it was “deeply concerning” to hear outdated radiotherapy machines were being used.
She said: “The NHS has grappled with the question of how best to replace outdated equipment for many years, and the government has repeatedly been urged to put a long-term plan in place.
“But . . . that still hasn’t happened. These investigation findings prove the urgent need for a solution to this persistent problem.”
In total, 57 of the 272 Linac machines used this year are 10 or more years old. One of them that is still in operation has been used for 17 years.
Dr Peter Kirkbride, the former chairman of the government’s radiotherapy clinical reference group and spokesman for the Radiotherapy4Life campaign, said: “That radiotherapy has been put on a lower footing than other cancer treatments — such as chemotherapy — by successive governments is an open secret within the NHS.”
The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on radiotherapy, described the figures as “shocking”.
He said they proved the investment in 2016 had been a “drop in the ocean” when compared with what is required to meet soaring demand.
Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, added: “What we do know is that for year after year, money earmarked for capital investment has been siphoned off just to keep services running.”
An NHS spokeswoman said 80 radiotherapy machines had been upgraded since 2016 and patients were benefiting from “a range of improvements” to cancer services.