I will resist the temptation to tell you about our weather, I imagine that yours is just as awful. This morning we threw straw on to the muddiest parts of the hen-runs but that worked only until the next gust came. A neighbour’s roof now looks quite quaint. The main topic of conversation was Bill’s hernia, just the subject for a dark, wet day. Seriously though, our pal is in a lot of pain and is depressed having just been told that it will be 48 weeks before he can expect to have the necessary operation.
And Bill is no exception. Right across the country waiting times are extending and, in many instances, treatment is being refused in the case of non life-threatening conditions. Check with the Patients Association and you will learn that waiting times for seven kinds of elective surgery including hip and knee replacements, cataract removals and hernia repairs have increased sharply over the 2010 figures. And 93 of the 170 main hospital trusts have reported that the number of operations being undertaken has fallen.
We are now seeing the inevitable result of the NHS being obliged to make £20 billion of ‘efficiency savings’. That euphemism can be dismissed for the lie that it is, these are massive cuts in funding. Fewer nurses, junior doctors and ancillary staff mean reductions in service in terms of quantity and, if you have been on a ward recently, you will know that it also means reduction in the quality of care.
But all that is of course just a part of the so-called Lansley Reforms. The not-so-hidden agenda is to introduce the private sector into every aspect of healthcare and, almost unnoticed, this is underway. When the Daily Telegraph cries foul on the subject of the NHS, the Conservatives know they are in trouble, and the pseudonymous Telegraph doctor Max Pemberton has this to say; “Richard Branson’s compnay becomes one of the first of many vultures to start plucking over the rich, tender flesh of the NHS now that it has been splayed open by the health bill”.
He is referring to the news that Virgin Care has won a £500 million contract to provide c.ommunity services across Surrey. Virgin began to takeover from April 1st. In Gloucestershire a patient, Michael Lloyd , challenged the transfer of services there without consultation. His challenge went all the way to judicial review where the Primary Care Trust caved in and promised to advertise the opportunity, thus giving the NHS a chance to compete. Unfortunately this means that healthcare providers in other EU countries must also be allowed to tender and the shrinking NHS has neither the staff nor the will to spend months on a drawn-out process.
In Kent, hackles are rising after a private hospital claimed that it will offer NHS and private patients “the only cardiothoracic and neurosurgery tertiary care beds in the county”. This claim has substance for last week The Clydesdale Bank agreed a £34 million deal to help build and run the ‘Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery’, which is due to open in the second quarter of 2014. A further £80million will be provided by corporate and private investors, including about 100 clinicians. Private provision in healthcare thrives when the NHS gives up trying, and with so many hospitals and PCTs now in huge debt and facing equally huge cuts, that is exactly what is beginning to happen. Hospitals are being encouraged by Lansley to take in private patients up to a ceiling of 49 per cent of their beds, and if they are going to survive at all that is exactly what many are proposing to do.
During the process of his bill Lansley cleverly proceeded with the changes anyway, and was then able to argue that it was too late to change course. So it will be with the introduction of the private sector.
Yesterday I noticed amongst my e-mails one from ‘Kerrie at Insured Ltd’. It was headed ‘Concerned re cancer? Skip the NHS waiting lists by signing up now with Private Medical Insurance’. Over the past week I have receieved six similar missives. I imagine we are meant to believe that Lansley knows nothing of such approaches.
Someone at our local hospital said to me this week that by the time his grandchildren are his age they will find unbelievable the story of a free-at-the-point-of-delivery service available to everyone irrespective of their financial status. Sadly, I believe that he is right.
Slowly but surely we are sitting back whilst an incompetent ideologist dismantles the NHS. To be fair we knew that, given the chance, he would do this. Nick Clegg and his gang have provided the chance!
THE BEEB IS NOT AS ACCURATE AS YOU IMAGINE!
Like me you may have always imagined that something said by the BBC is something accurate. If so then reflect on this snippet chosen at random. It comes from the BBC website where viewers were offered an insight into the life of ’60 Minutes’ host Mike Wallace, who has died.
“Wallace was one of the original hosts of ’60 Minutes’ when it began in 1968. He went on to interview the likes of Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy and Malcolm X”.
That was quite an achievement since all three men died long before the ’60 Minutes’ debut!