With the general election a few months away ,NHS and its performance is going to be the main issue.
We have heard many times the parties making up slogans like hours to save the NHS ,and it is “safe in our hands.
This winter though there really is a crisis.
Practically in every County , hospitals have declared a “major incidence”.
Major incidence is a declared when there is a big incidence,like a huge pile up, train/plane crash or any emergency which requires the hospital to pool all its resources in dealing with the incident. All other non urgent operations are cancelled and staff are recalled from leave, to have all hands on deck so to speak.
From Scarborough to Surrey and Somerset,hospitals are desperate,some have pitched tents outside the A&E department, so the patients can be taken the ambulances ,which are queuing outside,to deliver the sick and injured.
So what has happened this year? The winter so far has been mild ,and we have not had any major flu epidemic?
The CEOs of various hospitals are of the opinion that though the money is there, but there is an acute shortage of trained staff, in just one hospital, Scarborough there are 200 vacancies for trained nurses and they are not able to fill them. They are going to Spain next week to recruit nurses.
There is an acute shortage of doctors too.
So how did all this come about?
1. The training places were cut some years ago, at a time when there were a lots of nurses/doctors from abroad working in the NHS. What was forgotten that it takes 10 years for a doctor to fully qualify and specialise,and four years for a nurse. The imported nurses, who came on 5-10 year visa from Philippines and elsewhere have now gone back.
2. The GPs were exempted from doing night sand after hours, surgeries shut at 6PM , so people have no where to go if they need medical help,but to the A^E.
3. The social service budget was cut, so there are fewer places in the nursing home for the elderly, who come into the hospital and then cant be discharged, as there is no one around to look after them.
4. Drink has been a major problem over the festive period. As drunks fall about on the roads and hurt themselves , ambulances have to called to move them to a place of safety,they have to be kept in the A&E ,until the sober up or sleep it off.
5. There are twice as many delayed discharges,as families are un willing or unable to look after their elderly relatives.
6. The non emergency number 111,is unable to cope either, their target to answer the calls within two minutes, but due to the sheer volume ,it is taking 20 minutes before the calls are answered.
So what is the solution? Those of you who live abroad,in Europe and elsewhere,how do they cope?
With the election in offing, the parties will blame and counter blame each other, what can we as individuals do? Is there a need for us
Have you seen the similar crisis where you are?