“NHS Crisis Looming”

Over the summer months, the NHS has regularly been in the news headlines again with one problem after another.  Here are two recent examples:- “Thousands have surgery cancelled at last minute” (The Times – 15th August) “Dementia care lottery exposed” (Daily Mail – 16th August) There are many more stories in the media about hospitals under pressure; extended waiting times at A & E; reduction of health services and threatened closure of departments due to cuts in budgets. BUT, the headline that caught my eye most was in The Times on the 12th August:-

“NHS crisis deepens as bed blocking costs £6 billion”

You would think this would herald a great debate.  After all £6 billion is a lot of money.  To quote from the article again, the situation was:- “pushing hospitals to breaking point” “tens of thousands of patients experienced delay in being discharged” “A & E waiting times for June were the worst ever” “the shortage of emergency doctors was leading to a real crisis” “ambulance response times failed to meet the required standard” “cancer care waiting times also missed their targets” Fortunately a week later, The Times printed this retraction, albeit in a very small front page paragraph which would be easily overlooked:- “We said in a front page report that bed blocking costs the NHS £6 billion a year.  Official estimates put the costs at £820 million.  We apologise for the serious error”.

So that’s alright then!

The fact that nobody was alarmed, either by the headline or the crisis situation that was described in the article beneath, should tell us a lot about the way the NHS is perceived today.  Everyone knows that the total cost of the NHS is astronomical and a few billion pounds being lost in one way or another is accepted as small change.  Equally nobody seems to be alarmed about the dramatic descriptions about the crisis in the NHS since we all seem to feel that little can be done about it. The very fact that other parts of the media didn’t instantly correct the Times’ miscalculation, says much about the way that they too have given up on controlling the black hole that NHS finances had become. It all reinforces the myth that older people are causing the problem in the NHS because not only do they get ill, but when they are eventually hospitalised, they stay in for far too long.  Perhaps “society” thinks that older people enjoy their stays in hospital so much that they would like to extend their holiday away from home.


None of this makes sense but neither do alarmist headlines in The Times.

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2 Responses to “NHS Crisis Looming”

  1. Dear Oh Dear! O wise one!
    I am reminded of the times and expressions of the past
    The TIMES! The Thunderer! . Again the thunder box, the walk in the dew soddened grass, down to the bottom of the yard or garden; to the NETTIE, and once there the sign of the swinging pull chain, the paper on the nail hanging from the wall with cut strips of yesterday’s press, and then the sprinkling of earth or ashes to cover the ‘’’messages’’’ (sausages to the sea?) and other such crap!
    It is all smoke and mirrors and very difficult for the lay person to comment with accuracy on the NHS. Observations by persons who worked within the NHS as professionals (Medical and Photographic roles), stated that staff of most grades (admin/support/medical) in different ways displayed characteristics that were more common to misappropriation of funds and equipment. All grades of staff were not immune to this trait of wrong doing.
    Bed blocking by elderly patients requiring operations and after or respite care: Care in the home policy by the NHS, backed by the government of the day needs and requires further consideration, and research into what ‘Home care levels are?’ Not only required but demanded by every patient, and the open discussion; by the UK population in general as to what is ‘’Life expectancy?’’ Question: does the excellence of medical and mental practices with research cause each of us as residents within the UK, to demand the impossible of dream.?
    One factor discussed by medical and other workers in the NHS, revealed that antidote evidence that a nurse qualifications, at the initial level of employment is too academically based and requires, may be some form of review to adopt a form of apprenticeship for persons (male and female) initially based upon ‘’support for life’’ and appreciation of human interactive skills, and then ‘BOLT ON’ academic qualifications for medical practices, medications, higher management skills, and specialises skills (Mid-Wife- Paediatric/geriatric/ orthopaedic/ cardiac and such like etc.). Leading to the role of a leading nurse, matron and other higher qualified staff.
    The media talk up and down the problems in the NHS all within the same breath: It is all smoke and mirrors! We are all responsible as to what we expect of our NHS.
    The government purse is not bottomless, and we all must share in making our NHS a responsible service.

  2. today 22 sept 2016 I am rereading an article in the daily mail page 53 ‘Title the devoted couples torn apart by the state’ by Rebecca hardy.
    Resumme A wife is in a hospital, about to be discharged back into a place which according to social services and the Cumbria county services state must have ‘Care and well fare’
    The husband is at home( both have celebrated their 60th. wedding anniversary).
    Alleged facts:
    The nearest suitable care home/nursing home is some 30 miles away from the family home which the husband occupies- Home help is considered not suitable. This entales the husband completing a round trip of some 60 miles to see his wife (On a daily basis) some two to two and a half hours total travel on public transport or by taxi. Financial aid towards costs is not explained, just that the situation is described as hardship.
    I suspect this is not the only county area within the UK that has theses problems.
    The problem more accurately described in the mail is emotionally upsetting, and provision for a solution is and may be difficult for local council and county council to solve.
    My observations are that at present within the UK we appear to be advising and to some extent wishing people to live in their own premises until they reach a less mobile state of wellbeing: We are not educating the under 60′ year olds to review and look at the future of what they may wish in life? And what kind of society they may wish to live in? There are nursing homes and residential homes within the UK: however to my limited experience they only provide for the sole survivor or singular person, not the married or registered partner ship couples (mixed or same sex). This means that until less mobile persons are though life’s acceptance in UK society have to reside in a house/flat or other without care and welfare support, except maybe ‘HOME HELP by the NHS or local council in times of emergency? Out side this a care residential or nursing home is the solution for , and provided only for the individual person?
    One possible solution or at least promise of life together for the couples still remaining together is a residential village, with domiciliary support for those less mobile, but with a residential list of residents living within the same physical location, supported by council support and private development resulting in say a third of occupants private a third lease/shared and a third social.
    THE OVERALL domically care based on 30% of the residents, with various levels of care from Intense to housekeeping ( to ensure domiciliary care levels at an economic return)
    Further to this equation is the necessity to have a varied 60+ to 80+ age groups of various mixed mobility’s to encourage residents partake in the running of the village and its facilities. Life in the village is a partnership between the residents and the typical Extracare Charitable Trust Retirement Village.
    Should you wish a future which you may plan for end of life being together, and in a house for life, then I suggest to the reader to look at various retirement villages promoted by ARCO ( see earlier blogs) and study their individual ethos and policies.
    One site I would recommend is that of the EXTRACARE CHARITABLE TRUST web site and digest the information. It is not all sweetness and light, but if you visit a village run by Extracare Charitable Trust or any within the ARCO umbrella and the Extracare Charitable Trust Coventry, you may be pleasently surprised in what older age living can bring?
    If you find you are interested in the dream, then tackle your local councils, county councils and ARCO members and encourage developments for the older couples and single persons, within your district.
    Ideals and political and social thinking for older age I believe needs some radical financing from central and private investments, and a will by our political masters and socially each of us within the UK to think outside the box for our own old age.

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