To-day I heard Jeremy Hunt Health Service Minister on the news. He said and I quote, ‘Just imagine that our Olympic athletes had the attitude of not coming last instead of winning. That is just what the NHS has been doing.’
Hearing that insult from a politician is both astounding and risible. As a Consultant in the NHS for 27 years, I can honestly say I have strived throughout to ensure my patients get the best possible treatment, whether I have had to fight for it or even whistle-blow. It's a matter of integrity and I cannot imagine a greater insult. All the time, I’ve witnessed how politicians have expected to use the NHS as a political football, making daft changes whenever they get into power, and thrusting unnecessary changes and targets upon us at the same time as we are under-resourced and grossly over-managed.
Presently, it is impossible to do the best possible job. We have paperwork, managers breathing down our necks and numerous ‘NHS Policies’ thrust upon us and receive nothing but criticism. I overheard two theatre porters saying that they couldn’t understand why a theatre manager introduced a checklist for them to fill in every time they brought back a theatre trolley, to indicate that it had been cleaned. They have known to clean the damned trolley for years and years, but now paper is wasted and people’s time is wasted too to check on something which happens in any case.
I could cite numerous examples of top heavy management and politically correct time-wasting brought about by bad Government changes and now to cap it all, what has Hunt got to say about it? He blamesthe hospitals and their staff. He should have acted instead of shot his big mouth off.
If the NHS is to continue as a viable entity then it must be withdrawn from the political arena and run, not like some corporate Kafkaesque industry, but like a humane and effective service to patients. isn't it all about patients not targets after all? It should be run by a non-political body whose remit should be excellence above all else and resources adequate to the task. To have a Government Minister insult the integrity of dedicated NHS workers just shows how they think. Running someone else down takes the heat off them.
Bottom line – if you want a good NHS get rid of the politics and ensure that there are adequate resources available for the targets and reforms that have dogged it for the last 30 years.