As the local NHS Trust is one of those with statistically high death rates, I am naturally concerned. At my age, there is a reasonable probability that I will need to make use of there services within the next twelve months or so, and I would like to think that I would get any treatment that I might need. Thus I tend to follow the NHS stories in the media and am far from impressed.
Today there are several reports in the Daily Mail on this subject.
Firstly, a report, in which it is claimed that Professor Sir Brian Jarman has said that previous health ministers in the Labour governments had presided over a ‘denial machine’ designed to prevent criticism of the NHS. A further report, by by the NHS’s medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, due tomorrow, will apparently detail a shocking catalogue of failure at 14 hospital trusts held responsible for up to 13,000 ‘excess deaths’ since 2005. Apparently, it is expected that these hospitals will be subject to ‘special measures’, with NHS troubleshooters taking over what are described as ‘failing regimes’.
Frankly, I have no faith that any worthwhile change will be brought about by "troubleshooters" as they are simply more of a kind who have worked their way up the system, probably leaving a trail of failures in their wake, as in the case of the present head of the NHS.
Next, we have a report on the so-called "Liverpool Care Pathway" or the road to death. This was the scheme to hasten the deaths of those that doctors believed were dying by withdrawing treatment and drugging the patients so that they died of dehydration. Hospitals were even given bonuses based on the numbers of patients killed off by this "pathway". Apparently it is the intention to scrap this "pathway" within the next 12 months - why not tomorrow?
Yet another report reveals that thousands of elderly people are being denied cataract surgery by being made to wait a long period after the initial referral by a GP or are being told that they can only have one eye treated. Here I have an immediate personal interest as I have cataracts in both eyes. When I last saw my optician, she told me that my eyesight was still good enough for me to drive, which was my basic criteria for deciding whether to have anything done. But I am due to see her on Wednesday and I expect her to recommend that I have them seen to. Time will tell what actually happens.
And yet still those on the left of the political spectrum insist that we have the best health service in the world. Clearly they must go around with their eyes, ears and minds firmly closed! Perhaps they should look at countries other than the United States, where there are problems with their insurance based system - might I suggest they look at Australia, where many British are able to compare notes with friends and relatives and most conclude the Australian system is better. Or perhaps near home, look at Germany, or even Italy where my daughter received excellent treatment under the EU scheme.
We may have once has the best health scheme, probably when the NHS had just been formed and other countries didn't have such a health service, but now I suspect, in spite of all the claims, our NHS is nowhere near the best even within the EU. Its time for real change, not this marginal tinkering.
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