You asked for comments on how the NHS can be improved. Firstly, a major injection of common sense then a similar injection of humanity.
It has been my misfortune to be treated by a number of doctors, a few of whom were absolutely marvellous, but the majority of whom acted as though they regularly gave advice to God – and got it acted upon!
For many years the NHS has shared the Civil Service mindset of loading the most junior members of any department with a great deal of responsibility and then, when something goes wrong, claiming that those juniors exceeded their authority – which they were never given in the first place.
Thankfully this is beginning to change, but it should have changed completely 20 odd years ago.
Another historic problem which persists is that originally, money to fund the NHS (along with welfare benefits) was ring-fenced. At some point this idea was junked and instead N.I contributions went into the big Government pot and the Government then doled out how much they thought the NHS and the Welfare State needed.
Usually they either got their sums wrong or short-changed the two bodies for political reasons, with the result that both the NHS and the benefits system have been chronically underfunded for years.
Something which might possibly be corrected, but which would cost a great deal of money, is to turn the clock back to the 1960s and 70s, when aspiring nurses needed five GCE ‘O’ levels (including Maths and English) to be accepted for training, and then spent three years learning the job of an SRN, mostly ‘hands-on’ in hospital wards.
An acquaintance of mine opted instead to train as an SEN, a State Enrolled Nurse, who only had two years training and a much lesser rate of pay.
Since she was eminently qualified to take SRN exams, I asked her why she had not done so. “Simple” she replied “I wanted to NURSE”
So, one possible solution would be to bring back the SEN qualifications, including Maths and English and perhaps Physics (in order to deal with the numerous computer-generated problems which arise inside the NHS, by the sound of it, because the management hasn’t bothered to purchase the best foolproof and hacker-proof software).
Put into place a bursary-funded two-year hospital-based course comprising classwork and time on all the different wards to gain experience of all the assorted problems which can arise, but can’t be solved by an application of severe blame – and then pay them a living wage!
Dana Adler, Chatham