National DEATH Service ?

Is this the new name for the National Health Service ?

After the recent report on the many premature deaths at Gosport Hospital, you might well think so, at least as far as older people are concerned !

I am not going to repeat the shocking headlines that followed the publication of the report by Reverend James Jones KBE, the Chairman of the Gosport Independent Panel on the possible 650 murders of older people (the word murder is my own description, the report only describes “death” because at this point there have been no convictions at what happened at Gosport).   You can see Reverend Jones’ summary in the foreword of the report by clicking on the following link.

The central culprit is Dr Jane Barton – a GP working as a clinical assistant at the hospital.   After the report was published, she was away on holiday in Majorca.   There are also her many other accomplices who assisted with the crimes or helped bury the evidence.   I will bet they would all like to be in Spain right now, it is a haven, or should that be hidy-hole, for people trying to forget their past.

It’s taken years to reach this point but the report’s conclusions are very damning.  I will leave others to decide the fate of the many people involved.   No doubt this will only be after many more years of re-investigation, public and private enquiries and endless belated heartfelt meaningless apologies.

However, I believe what happened at Gosport is only a headstone in a much bigger graveyard of early deaths of older people across many hospitals in the NHS.    I doubt they will ever be investigated because it will be too far a bigger scandal for anyone to contemplate.    I’m not talking about dignified, consensual death, where there has been the active involvement of the patient, their relatives and a compassionate doctor.   Those kind of deaths have gone on quietly for many years.   What I’m talking about is the callous disregard for older people’s lives in a fast-track conveyor belt of NHS express care, where doctors and nurses are rushed off their feet and constantly pressured to empty beds for the next patient.   Where hospital managers are measured on patient throughput and financial efficiency rather than healthy outcomes for patients.  Where regulators who should be safeguarding patients are more concerned in ticking boxes rather than making sound judgements.

There is a deeper and much more significant issue underlying this whole situation.     Born out of ageism, disrespect and disregard of older people.    Born out of the cost to society of people getting old.   Born out of Politicians’ false promises and cowardly dishonesty over decades.   Born out of a collective failure to face up to the reality and lost opportunity of an ageing population.

It need not be like this, if we all wake up and accept the there is more than enough money tied up in the property owned by the majority of older people to pay for their care in later life.   Also the NHS is increasingly more capable of looking after their acute health care needs, however what they are not good at and have never been funded to do, is look after chronic long-term conditions.

If we don’t want a National DEATH Service, we need to strategically rethink how we are going to deliver a National Health Service for older people.


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3 Responses to National DEATH Service ?

  1. davidfreeman says:

    Blog-’ National Death Service By John Graham
    I have read this blog with passion, and a lot of feeling: trying to understand the messages included in this Blog!
    Firstly I have scan read the report, all sections, as per the given link.
    My findings, or my thoughts are in confusion, and I offer in some form of order my utterances.
    The Report Gosport Panel findings, my personal take.
    There is no doubt that we should ask what went wrong and to whom or who do we place the blame. The report covers this efficiently: How ever I feel the system NHS is or needs a thorough review, with a moral input by citizens of the UK, who are aged 55+ not the younger generation, as the problems highlighted in this particular report centre on patients within the NHS of 75+.
    Standing back, gently and taking a remote look at the problems of those aged 75+[geriatrics] who for one reason or another have to enter THE NHS hospital service?
    1we need a NHS hospital service reactive to emergency treatments resulting from some misfortune chic incapacitates a health.
    2We as a nation may require John’s defined ‘’National death service’’ with solid moral and ethical boundaries:
    a)In days gone past we had reactive designated geriatric hospitals. Where have the ideals gone??
    B)We now have private enterprise and including charities, chic provide retirement home and retirement village complexes,
    C)We als have an active charity run hospice providers servicing for those at end of life.
    We need to openly discuss life after 75+ for the geriatric, and does the provider of a retirement home/retirement village have the compassion and ability in Law and morally to provide a home for life until death? How we as individuals finance this service and the support we may need or indeed demand? Simply put who pays the costs, and is it a right of birth for one to pass on ones assets to one family or and friends, and benefactors- [should they be a charity?].
    X we may need just a purely bodily physically and mentally wellbeing National Health service with hospitals and doctors/nurses surgery services to serve the UK population.
    Y We need an independent geriatric service allocating and making provisions to house the elderly [55+’s] for example.
    Z we need a comprehensive social service that financially supports the general population and especially the over 55+’s. as well as the general population!
    How this is achieved I have no idea! However some of these aspects of support are in place all ready for those over 55+, AND we need as a nation to be able and require to evenly discuss these options. AS over 55+’s we have paid a life times of taxes in various forms, and while those without may wish to rob those with of their assets; ONE HAS TO BE FAIR AND EQUITABLE ON HOW THE GOVERNMENT OF OURS MAY REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH OF INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES, AND THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS.
    It is an impasse and not agreeable to all, including me! However if as a society we are fair and support a responsible family life, then we can achieve our common goals of a fairer NHS/social services/retirement housing for all, especially the geriatric generations.

    • john graham says:

      Thanks David, you have an interesting idea in suggesting a consultation with older people. If they did it I think the Government would get feedback they would not like, about the NHS care of older people, especially after the Gosport Hospital incident.

  2. david here! read above chic should be which and als should read also. Apologises for finger and spelling mistakes

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