NHS: Don’t plan us for failings


A week ago you were kind enough to publish my letter and feedback I have recieved indicates that some parts of it were misconstrued.

In particular my unfortunate use of the word ‘feckless’ was seen by some as to mean those people in receipt of state benefits when, in fact, I meant people who do not look after themselves properly and expect the State to pick up the pieces afterwards.

If I had wanted to attack people less fortunate than I am I would simply have joined the Conservative Party.

In the 1980s Thatcher introduced a system of general management into the health service.

This meant that people with managerial experience but with no clinical experience (and in my experience without a Code of Ethics) began to manage all services.

It was at this point that the financial imperative began to outweigh the need for good clinical outcomes.

Fortunately, since then a number of clinicians with management training have become senior managers but the logical outcome of general management has been the establishment of NICE whose task it is to look at all new treatments in terms of cost-effectiveness instead of efficacy and clinical effectiveness.

The system of general management also seemed to introduce a culture of bullying into the NHS.

The recent Francis Report highlights how many ‘whistle-blowers’ were intimidated, bullied, and driven to illness and even to suicide by senior managers.

And so the NHS and social care services are, in some cases poorly managed and, in nearly all cases underfunded.

The motivation for my last letter was simply that instead of celebrating the fact that more people are living into old age and then being given wonderful treatment by brilliant and caring NHS staff, the politicians seem to bemoan those facts and we are now bombarded on every side by the various media into believing that we (‘the elderly’) are the cause of all the problems when what we really need to look at is how the services are managed, supported, and funded.

Austerity clearly hasn’t worked but it has allowed the idea to develop that we should ‘blame the victim’ instead of looking at those who have successively re-organised and demoralised this unique and special service, and failed to adequately fund it – ie the politicians.

Just because I have grown older doesn’t mean it’s all my fault.