Sunday 28 January 2018

Nerd Church - The Problem With the NHS

The problem with the NHS is not a problem with the NHS.

And with that bombshell, I should probably explain to my international nerdlets (and I will never get over the fact that I even have international nerdlets,) just what it is that I'm talking about.

The NHS is the National Health Service - set up so that everyone in the UK has access to state-run, FREE, healthcare. (Set up by a Welshman. #JustSaying.)

toy dog with bandages

This year, as in many years, the NHS is under strain for its services. It can't cope with the demand.

When that happens, people suffer.

But here's the thing: it's no longer a single NHS.

The Welsh NHS and the Scottish NHS are run independently from the English NHS (and Northern Ireland has the HSC.)

Our portions were given into the hands of our devolved governments.

Currently, the Westminster government (deals with the English NHS,) is controlled by the Conservatives. The Welsh Government is controlled by Labour. And the Scottish Government is controlled by the SNP.

So, given that there are three separate governments controlling three separate portions of the NHS, I think it's time that we admitted the galumphing heffalump in the room:

All three countries are having the same problems.

This should tell you that it isn't something about the approach the governments to the health service are taking that's causing the struggles. It has to be something outside that.

Look, the NHS is the UK's safety net. Pure and simple. Imagine it like the net beneath a trapeze artist or tightrope walker.

When you drop people continually into the net, without moving the people we dropped in before, you can't really complain when the net begins to break.

It's not designed for you to keep filling it with more and more people. The problem isn't the net. If we had a bigger net, we'd just fill that one too.

The problem comes into two parts of the process: the dropping people into the net, and the failing to help them out of it.

So, why are we dropping people into the net? What are the things that are contributing to this strain on the NHS?

I'm no professor, but a few of these seem likely:
  • an aging population
  • a lack of dealing with the problem at GP level
  • less care in the community leading to hospital admittance
  • poverty leading to a decline in health standards:

The problem with clearing the net? Less beds. Less social care. Simple.

Look, I'm not saying that putting more money in is a bad thing - money in the health service will ALWAYS be put to good use - all I'm saying is that making the net bigger will only defer the problem, not solve it.

But I get that it's easier for politicians and journalists to focus on the immediacy of the thing - on the hospital waiting times, the full A & E departments, etc.- than on the complex social causes behind it.

Maybe I'm wrong - who knows? But from where I'm stood, nothing's going to get better until we look beyond the effects, and alter the cause.

We need to stop treating the symptoms, and treat the disease instead.

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  1. I don’t entirely understand the UK health system but it seems to me like it’s a lot like the Canadian one, free, but not without faults. I know that emergency room wait times are so incredibly long and there’s an issue with overcrowding.

    1. Sounds similar *nods in agreement* Except, like I said, it's really 3 organisations, run along the same principles. So if 3 separate governments are facing the *same* problems with it... I don't understand why we're still pretending it's something to do with the approach within the health system itself.

  2. My husband used to work for the NHS and he left because it was infuriating. He had a clinic in a doctor's surgery that himself and half the staff members lived in and every day he drove past it on the way to the work's 'base' to pick up a van and another colleague from the same town and drive the van back to where he'd just come from. He and his colleagues approached his boss and suggested making the clinic days longer and have staff travel directly to the practice and he wouldn't do it. He carried on paying the staff to travel back and forth and use the costly vans too.The NHS doesn't use its money very well because there are a lot of highly paid managers who can't seem to see the tree for the woods. It's not just my local authority either, I hear weird and wonderful anecdotes from others who work for the NHS up and down the country!

    I definitely agree that there needs to better education about disease prevention and all of those things too. I think there needs to be a massive drive to improve things but it's something I don't see happening sadly.

    I'd better get saving for some health insurance!


    1. Just another example of a lack of common sense really! *face palms*

      I think that basically, we need to be looking at the root of the problem, instead of just pruning the leaves. (Random gardening analogy there! Lol.)


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