Editor: Poorly system is bad for all our health but can be saved

How poorly does our NHS have to get before somebody gives it the treatment it needs to stay alive?

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 6:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 7:06 am
More health workers are speaking out against their working conditions (Photo by Vanessa JIMENEZ / AFP) (Photo by VANESSA JIMENEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The story on Page 5 today is extraordinary for two reasons. Firstly, members of our health service are usually too afraid to speak so frankly in public. Secondly, we all know how bad things are yet we sit comfortably doing little or nothing about it.

There can’t be many things much worse for our health than the experts not being able to give us the care we deserve. It isn’t lack of skill, knowledge or desire … it is funding and a system that is not fit for purpose.

If you’ve tried to get an appointment with your own GP in the last few years – far before this pandemic – you know what he means. That is just the beginning. This is no reflection on the people who work in the system but a condemnation of a system that has been allowed to rot.

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There can’t be many examples as clear as the resignation of the very nurse who helped keep our prime minister alive while he battled Covid-19. If he can’t be bothered to listen to her needs, perhaps she should have taken the same view while he laid in intensive care. But that’s the most painful point isn’t it. She wouldn’t have dreamed of such wickedness – it isn’t a stereotype that people devote their lives to the health service because they care, it is absolutely true.

I’ve never met a nurse or doctor who wouldn’t drop everything to help a complete stranger.

If only the same could be said of the people who are paid to represent us. They say the right things when they want our votes but at any other time they clearly do not value our NHS

The recent outrage over a football league set up to make more money for millionaires and ignore the demands of us ordinary folk was appropriate – but why don’t we see that kind of reaction to the very similar treatment being handed out to our hospitals? Indeed, most of our schools have been through a process – academisation – which puts profit before top class education and few of us have blinked an eye.

We have funny priorities sometimes or maybe we are just blinded by the outstanding care given by overstretched and underpaid teams. How long can they continue?