Beware the ‘NHS sympathy’ vote

Another election is due shortly;  you can tell when one is in the offing because politicians start canvassing.  One of their favourite ‘platforms’ is ideas for reforming the NHS; a sure-fire vote winner.

Every day they come up with fresh – and absurd – ideas to improve the NHS.  The fact that the NHS is short of staff to carry these ideas out seems to escape their notice.   They state the obvious and promise wonderful ideas to improve the service, knowing this is something that will resonate with voters.  They are desperate to convince us, the voters, that they have our interests at heart.

So in the run-up to the next election, my cynical side is waiting for all the empty promises coming up.  Years of under-investment means there is a massive shortage of trained NHS staff, so any ideas that depend on staffing are bound to be a no-no.  It needs years to train doctors, physios, nurses, etc. so politicians giving out grandiose ideas of reform if you vote for their party, does not cut the mustard with me.

Every year, the Dept. Health, the government office in charge of the NHS, comes up with a Cancer Action Plan.  Last year we were promised a whole new scenario for the next ten years.  Surprise, surprise – it’s already been quietly dropped.  If previous elections are anything to go by, any grandiose plans that promise better health care will be quietly shelved once the election is over.

NHS is bonkers!

British politician Ann Widdecombe in London on June 10, 2009.Ann Widdecombe is one politician who has spoken out about the health service., and doesn’t mince her words.   She was filmed in one of those TV scenarios where a celebrity carries out an unusual job – this time it was working in the NHS.  Trying to help a patient, Ann came up against NHS bureaucracy – and turning to camera announced “the NHS is Bonkers”!

Ann got on with trying to tackle NHS admin – but even her indomitable spirit couldn’t make it work.

Perhaps, if they put her in charge of the innumerable Cancer Plans, we might get something done  Way back in 2015 we have Dame Cally Palmer appointed as National Cancer Director. I remember there was lots of publicity as Cally flickedi her long her around, but all the plans seem to have stagnated. ,

Frank Dobson is another politician who got it spot on.  As new Labour’s first Secretary of State for Health, he once said of the NHS, “you pull the levers and it’s not long before you realise… they aren’t connected to anything”.

Recently someone seems to have pulled the lever marked ‘bungs’ and lobbed out £200m, to supposedly free up hospital beds. The idea; was hospital managers were going to block-book care-home places so that Gran, currently occupying a hospital bed because she wasn’t well enough to be sent home. Instead, she could be sent to a care home as an interim measure, freeing up her hospital bed
Of course it wasn’t that simple, as NHS guru Roy Lilley explains.
For starters, hospitals were expected to use their own funds (they are all skint) to buy care home places and claim reimbursement when the £200m materialised.
While the great and good were enjoying tea and biscuits in Downing Street, there were an average of just over 14,000 souls, living under the fluorescent lights and tender care of our hospitals.
Since then, there have been around 80 transfers of care from hosptials to care homes.
Yes, eighty.= 80
For £200m, they are all probably staying at the Savoy.
As Roy points out
  • Residential care homes can’t get staff
  • Opening beds at short notice is next to impossible
  • Staffing them is generally impossible
  • Staffing them for two or three months, double-impossible
  • Buying care-home places at short notice requires a premium, creates care-price inflation and annoys local authorities…
  • There is every likelihood, in 40-odd days time, yer granny will need domiciliary care to move from a care home, to her own home,  and right now, domiciliary care is as rare as hen’s teeth…
So next time a prospective MP promises the earth in exchange for your vote, DO T\HE MATHS on the back of the nearest envelope!