Austerity. Cutbacks. Recession.
Protecting ‘our’ NHS has becoming the temporary raison d’être of many an opposition leader over the years often to find that once they are in power that the grim reality of maintaining the National Health is a daunting one.
When the NHS was first conceived by Aneurin Bevan all those years ago it was during a vastly different political landscape. At the time doctors operated as independent operators charging at will for their pills and potions. The prices were in many cases extortionate and subsidies were limited for the poor.
People simply avoided seeing their doctor in favour of dangerous, unproven remedies and practices.
And then the NHS.
The NHS was created so that the poor could access essential medical services at any time and in any place without fear of the costs. The NHS was born to care for those who could not care for themselves and was there to be cherished.
The envy of the world.
But here’s the problem we now use and abuse the NHS without a second thought. We’ve pushed it far beyond its original boundaries of operation and we’ve attempted to develop it with increasing bureaucracy and ever limited resources.
We’ve decided universal, free healthcare is our right.
We expect efficiency and excellence and strike with an iron fist when standards aren’t met.
All the while we question why healthcare staff feel they need to be rewarded.
It’s the public sector stupid! Don’t expect a pat on the back.
The NHS now can’t cope with the burgeoning population, the masses in Accident and Emergency whilst trying to compete with the funds being pumped into medical research institutions across the world. The NHS is clearly our right isn’t it? How dare we even question it?
The NHS is our last taboo. Even questioning that we may have to tear it down and rebuild it is beyond belief. Whilst we complain and procrastinate about its constant failings we are happy to hark back to its founding principle of free, universal care.
Instead, politicians undertake backdoor reform programs knowing that they need to do things differently whilst living in the fear that should things go public then out of Whitehall they go! Transparency and accountability is then lost and sensationalist headlines reign.
What’s the key? The solution?
Context, my friends, context. We have to recognise where we were and where we are and be honest with ourselves before we can move forward.
No-one will deny that something needs to change but we need to consider that NHS reform like any other plan must be done without emotions clouding our judgement.
Agree or Disagree? Tweet me @Saif_Abed
Dr Saif F Abed
AbedGraham Healthcare Strategies Ltd