Save Our NHS

Copied: Marion Judd. My take on the background of the Junior doctor’s strike – rather long I’m afraid: Jeremy Hunt has been successfully deceiving the public ever since he became Secretary of State for Health. But he has concealed this through manipulation of the media, and serial misrepresentation of facts. David Cameron, Jeremy Hunt, Oliver Letwin, Tory MPs and the Tory Party are committed to privatising the NHS, evidenced by Jeremy Hunt’s own published work prior to becoming a government minister. Their long-term strategy began with the introduction of an internal market into the NHS and breaking up the NHS into separate Trusts, in preparation for future privatisation. New Labour played along with the strategy through supporting the internal market and increasing privatisation of services, plus the disastrous PPI contracts which no sensible member of the public would ever have condoned. These costly structural changes have been responsible for creating huge financial deficits for NHS Trusts, reducing their capacity to fund care for patients. On top of this, and in spite of our rising population, there has been no increase in funding for the NHS in real terms since 2009, with decrease in training places, and freezing of clinical staff salaries (although not those of management nor those on the political bandwagon).
As the government’s privatisation plans move forward, pressure is now being placed on NHS commissioners to contract out services to private providers and to favour them in the bidding process. There have been instances where lower bids from NHS providers have been rejected in favour of much more expensive contracts. This cannot be in the best interests of the NHS and its patients when funding care should be the priority.
The “junior” doctor’s strike is a culmination of the latest assault on salaries and working conditions in the NHS in preparation for privatisation. Calling them “junior” is misleading for the public as many of them have been doctors for 20 or more years. Nurses and other clinical staff will be the next targets. Levels of lying by Jeremy Hunt and his party have reached a crescendo this year, in order to keep the public from finding out the real state of affairs. We already have a 7 day NHS despite what we are being told. And evidence for more deaths at weekends is decidedly shaky, yet keeps on being quoted. Quality of care on every day of the week depends on adequate funding and in the absence of proper funding NHS clinical services are running on the good will of staff who strive to keep up standards of patient care despite being burdened with top heavy bureaucracy and too few to carry the load. The Tories have seemingly forgotten that the NHS is there primarily to care for sick people. They view it as a potential cash cow and to this end have burdened the NHS with a vast raft of expensive quangos, A number of Tory MPs are known to have vested interests in the private companies which are being awarded NHS contracts and more are doubtless waiting in the wings to cash in if the TTIP gets signed, as David Cameron has refused to exempt the NHS from being taken over by US healthcare companies.
Trusts are additionally being burdened with fines for not reaching impossible targets and the latest assault is to make Trusts pay rent for the land they stand on. Funding for direct patient care, beds, staffing and equipment is thus reducing by the day while billions are being diverted elsewhere. The doctor’s strike ultimately and fundamentally results from this rape of our great and humane health service whose patients are destined to suffer even more if Tory plans reach fruition.
The art and practices of medicine and nursing in the NHS are clearly not understood nor valued by Jeremy Hunt and his cohorts. Tory Dr MPs, civil servants and any other potential dissenters all appear to have been silenced.
Political interfering with the nation’s healthcare has become a truly retrograde step for this country. Keeping the NHS as a publicly owned and run service needs to be centrally funded but free from political control as this is proving disastrous. Interference with the training and practices of medicine and nursing by non –medical politicians who seek to micro manage training and practice of clinicians makes little sense and it can be clearly seen what has brought the junior doctors out on strike as they care deeply about providing the right care for their patients with the ability to do so being systematically eroded by Tory ideologists. The strike is symbolic – not about money but about fighting for the very fabric of our NHS. In order to do their work, we need them to be respected and supported, not maligned and penalised.
My recommendation to Jeremy Hunt is to read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal in the hope that his conscience might become a tad troubled about his and his government’s actions.
And in this 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, his words from Julius Caesar “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones” rings true for our NHS today


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