Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Second rate or second best?

The NHS has many faults, in some areas of treatment it compares nicely with the rest of the world. However in other areas it singularly fails to provide a world class service.

DAVID Cameron came under fire from health workers’ leaders and senior MPs yesterday when he unveiled plans for a huge shake-up of the NHS.
The influential Commons Health Committee hit out at his scheme to sweep away primary care trusts and strat­egic health authorities and introduce more competition into the health service.
And the Prime Minister was attacked by angry doctors and nurses after accidentally describing the NHS as a “second-rate service” in a live radio interview.
Mr Cameron’s keynote speech in London was overshadowed by the gaffe in a radio interview.
Well they're calling it a gaffe, but in this case I believe Cameron had it right the first time. There have been several scandals over the years of patients dying on trolleys, diseases such as MRSA running rampant, even one of my local hospitals (Maidstone) managed to kill 90 patients due to the C-diff bug. So quite clearly there are a few problems in the system which not only is the third largest employer in the world, but has recently come under fire for wages increasing but productivity falling. So clearly not a first class or first rate service by anyones standards, then again, Cameron may have been being kind with his slip of the tongue because quite frankly there are some areas of the NHS where second rate would be a bit of a compliment.

NHS shamed by third-rate hospitals: Needless deaths and thousands of blunders exposed.
Death rates at 19 hospital trusts are alarmingly high and tens of thousands of patients are suffering blunders at the hands of careless and incompetent doctors and nurses, a major report reveals.
Many of the substandard hospitals already face investigations that could lead to fines, prosecutions and the closure of wards and units.
The annual snapshot of the state of care in England’s 147 hospital trusts also lays bare huge variations in treatment for strokes and broken hips and in the odds of developing potentially fatal blood clots after surgery.
And this was only in November last year, so I doubt there's been a massive change since then. Certainly even the comment of second best was too kind, other countries health services compare a lot more favourably to ours, particularly France and the Scandinavian countries, anyone doing a bit of research could tell you this. yet Cameron is castigated for a slip of the tongue over the fact he was being critical of the NHS, yet the facts tell a different story, Cameron should be castigated for not going anywhere near far enough. The NHS does ok in certain areas, they saved my arm when I had a cancerous tumour on it and the service I had was good, but not everyone is as lucky as I was. In some areas it offers a well below second rate/second class service and those piling into Cameron should be honest enough to admit this. Whether Cameron's reforms will make a difference, I don't know, but I do know the NHS is in need of reform root and branch and trying to tell us any different is akin to pissing into the wind.
A bit of honesty from both parties might be in order instead of defending both the best and the worst of the NHS.

1 annotations:

The Filthy Engineer said...

"even one of my local hospitals (Maidstone) managed to kill 90 patients.

You're lucky. My local is Tunbridge Wells. Two years ago it was bottom of the national league tables although nearly at the top for killing their inmates.