The NHS is on life-support and it has a simple choice - change or die, says Mark Dolan

The NHS is on life-support and it has a simple choice - change or die, says Mark Dolan
Mark Dolan

By Mark Dolan

Published: 25/11/2022

- 21:18

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:29

This will give you a hot flush, keep you awake and bring you out in a cold sweat.

This will give you a hot flush, keep you awake and bring you out in a cold sweat.

Menopausal women working in the health service will be offered the opportunity to work from home or do lighter duties, according to the chief executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard.

Now I'm no expert on the management of health systems, but encouraging the staff of an already diabolically overstretched service to work from home and do less work, doesn't seem like the best prescription.

Meanwhile the mail newspaper report That GPs want to reduce their working hours to 9am to 5pm, claiming that longer days discriminate against those with families.

Family doctors, who earn £111,900 a year on average, will now lobby the NHS to change core opening hours in general practice from the current 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.

This could mean services are cut by 2.5 hours a day, making it even harder for patients to be seen.

And with the NHS costing £13,000 per household and amounting to 40% of day to day government spending, having jumped from 30% 10 years ago, I don't know about you, but I want my money back.

When you pay your taxes, you're expecting doctors and nurses, not middle managers, who make up almost half of NHS employees, not diversity teams for what is the most diverse organisation out there and you don't pay for rainbow pedestrian crossings outside of hospitals.

You reap what you sow and the NHS, whose doctors and nurses we all love, has brought this crisis onto itself. For two and a half years, they became the national Covid service, ignoring far worse illnesses like cancer and type two diabetes.

In the name of Covid, the NHS, as an organisation became obsessed with the elimination of this one disease and became truly heartless as others begged for treatment for much more serious ailments. During the pandemic, the NHS lost its heart, it lost, its mind and it lost its head.

And now as they face a self-inflicted backlog of 7 million people seeking treatment, they want to send menopausal NHS workers home and give them lighter duties. This as nurses announce strikes on the 15th and 20th of December.

We love the nurses and they deserve the pay rise, but the country is broke, because of a diabolical overreaction to a seasonal respiratory virus. We borrowed half a trillion pounds to pay perfectly healthy people to stay at home and close once further businesses.

I don't recall any of the nursing unions speaking out this ruinous and failed experiment to stop a virus. The nurses and doctors who work in the NHS, and the cooks, cleaners, porters and reception staff, are the best we have, but the system’s not fit for purpose.

It's irrevocably broken, in a crisis of its own making. It stopped treating people for over two years and now look where we are, with

hundreds more dying of cancer and heart disease every week than previously would. And unlike covid, these diseases aren’t exclusive to the old and clinically vulnerable.

Now, the likes of a young mother must say goodbye to her kids, because she couldn’t get that lump checked during lockdown. And with cash-strapped, Brits, now so desperate they are paying out for private treatment, the NHS is losing its moral authority too.

With people paying out for private treatment, the NHS risks becoming like the BBC: a service many don't use, but one, everyone's got to pay for. And don’t forget, if you're paying for private health treatment, you're paying twice – given that you've already paid your taxes for the NHS.

It’s enough to make you sick.

The brilliant Telegraph columnist Alison Pearson quoted one of her readers this week, Hannah, who emailed the paper, to say her two-year-old son is struggling to breathe and swallow food, but is only offered a telephone appointment in the near future, with an ENT consultant. The estimated wait for a tonsillectomy: 2.5 years.

Two and a half years? It should be two and a half weeks. And in terms of its dire performance – try getting a GP appointment this side of Christmas - a lack of money isn’t an excuse any more, as most people accept the service is now an endless, money pit.

A radical rethink is essential and nothing is off the table. But we can’t go on like this – that’s clear. The NHS is on life-support. It has a simple choice. Change or die.

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