How the NHS failed me and mine.
What it did, to the most important person
in my life and how it could happen to you unless
we do something about it!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

August is a Dangerous Month.

Hot on the heels of the need to reduce costs in NHS Hospitals, which will reduce the numbers of Locum Doctors and Agency nurses, used to prop up the systems inability to provide adequate patient care, come the new intake of trainee doctors. These young men and women will now begin the 'on the job' training essential for their careers. But, with less mentors to assist in this endeavour, they will increasingly be thrust into the front line and will assume roles they are ill equipped to perform. August is the first month of their many rotations in all the aspects of Medicine and will likely, in these initial months expose those they treat to more dangers than perhaps would otherwise be the case.

Particularly, at the moment, some Trusts have openly admitted they are unable, or unwilling to pay out the vast sums they have, any longer, on temporary staff to cover both holidays and the chronic absenteeism prevalent in the NHS. In fact one Midland teaching hospital with a new intake of F1's of 500, has clearly stated that the deployment of these, to all corners of the Hospital will ease their current staff shortage. So looking forward to emptying a few bedpans then, Doc or perhaps running the mop over the floor?

The current Government of the LibCons is looking for savings everywhere, irrespective it seems, of any endeavour to ensure it does not damage safety or regulation. I will be the first to applaud the demise the f**k wits at the Food Standards Agency, but that does not mean that I wish to see the end of regulation. Trusts have taken on board the softening of 'target culture' with a vengeance; getting an appointment now seems to have been stretched to an horizon of a seascape. The realisation that the PFI has cost so much is now dawning, and some will have to utilise vast proportions of their curtailed budgets simply to meet the extraordinary costs of maintaining these Hospitals and Health Centres for the next thirty years, from dwindling resources. So the youthful (mainly) intake, will be used more and more, at the front line of health care. Attached to this will be the consummate risks to the patient, whose care will be in the hands of doctors 'in training'.

Worse, their mentoring by more senior staff, already at a low, will be further eroded, perhaps to breaking point. Mistakes in Health care are in my view at an all time high. And whilst the NHS can and does excel in the area of Trauma and Emergency care most of the time, it is complete crap at aftercare, health advice and routine medicine. CHD and CVD mortality has been falling for years, but incidence continues to rise. Whilst breast cancer  mortality is falling, we still have one of the worst rates in Europe. For a country that spends over £100billion on the NHS we are achieving extremely poor results for that vast sum.

I would strongly advise all who are planning to be sick and in need of a Hospital to postpone until at least December, to give these would be Doctors time to get a bit more experience, before you venture through their doors! And to those who are venturing down the road of becoming a healer, I entreat you to heed the words of Hippocrates, " I will use treatments for the benefit of the ill, in accordance with my ability and judgement, but from what is to their harm and injustice I will keep them".

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