Clapping comes cheap, and it’s easy to do.

What is going to take more effort, and a lot of planning post lockdown, is to ensure those on the front line in the current crisis get a well-deserved pay increase.

And I don’t mean the Administrators, or hospital CEOs on their six-figure salaries.

Come to think of it, I didn’t see one photo of a hospital CEO battling on the front line.  The ones I know fight tooth and nail to be in the front of the photograph whenever a Celeb or Royal comes into view;  they are past-masters at smooching the press.  As a medical journalist, I’ve fallen over enough of them getting in the way whenever something newsworthy was happening.

But suddenly, they were nowhere to be seen. This time it was the poor, tired staff at the end of their 12-hour shift on Covid-full wards, brave enough to be photographed with the marks of exhaustion clearly visible on their faces.

In future

For some time past the NHS has pleaded poverty and awarded pay increases to most staff that were under the rate of inflation.  And as for Care Home Staff, etc. they were at the bottom of the list when it came to handing out pay awards.

But one thing was noticeable, from a Patient’s viewpoint, was the ease with which one was handled during the crisis.  When it came to it, hospital staff gave me excellent care.  Telephone ‘appointments’ worked extremely well, and when it was felt that I needed to see someone face-to-face, Outpatients worked like a dream – no dreary waits for hours

The threat of coronavirus kept time-wasters well away, but to any Administrator worried about ‘targets’, throughput, etc., the figures treated must have been worryingly low.

You can just see it:  next year, when budgets are being prepared, instead of allowing a certain number of unoccupied beds for crises, etc., you can imagine their thinking that if they were down in numbers , they can cut the number of beds ……  Let’s hope this time there will be an outcry, and a demand to copy European hospitals who do have unoccupied beds available for crises situations.

Rationing

Administrators love to boast the NHS provides healthcare ‘free at the point of use’. But this comes with rationing.  To provide treatment for all means we can wait hours in A & E, weeks to see our GP and months for an operation.

Contrast that with what happens in Europe: generally the system works faster and better, with the population overall paying slightly more in taxes/insurance for their healthcare, than we do here.

The US system is regarded as the bogey-man, rationing through prices.  However,  the NHS imposes rationing in a different way –  bureaucracy imposed by the back door so it’s difficult to pin down, hotchpotch decisions, and a postcode lottery.  The end result being patients refused life-extending drugs, etc. Care can be provided free by the NHS in some areas, when next door patients have to pay for it themselves. It seems both systems can fail their patients.

Exercising freedom has corresponding duties. Suddenly we have a need to show we are living responsibly, and taking control of our own health. Britons have to realise that nothing is free, and a ‘free’ health service has to be paid for, so we need to use it responsibly.

Well done Wales

Nursing Times has just announced that the Welsh Government has said social care workers in Wales are set to receive a £500 bonus.  This is part of a move to show staff in the sector that their hard work is “appreciated and recognised” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the daily Welsh Government press conference, first minister Mark Drakeford said the one-off payment would be available to some 64,000 care home workers and domiciliary care workers throughout the country.

This is the first step;  let’s all write to our MPs etc. to make sure all front-line staff across Britain get a tangible benefit to repay their devotion to duty during this past crises.

 

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