A perspective on our beloved NHS

 

When we hear people clapping and banging pots showing support for the NHS, it is likely that only last year they would have had a different story. Then, hospitals were a place to of infection, premature discharges, delirium, and lack of care, lack of respect and lack of funding.

When we find out, now, that most hospitals have been unusually empty during the Covid-19 pandemic, the reality changes.

The Nightingale Hospitals have capacities hardly used.  We assumed staff were rushed off their feet and battling against all the odds.  Yet the old and infirm have been sent home, or to a home, to die and other ill patients have been frightened away from hospitals.

Polls still show a huge support for the NHS.

The predominance of fear has brought us into line, leaving us insecure and looking for reassurance.  We respond to propaganda, peer pressure and fear.  There is an almost religious support for a universal health service.

Our health service is awash with hypocrisy, contradiction and corruption, which goes relatively unchallenged.  The British public are indifferent, unaware or too needy.

Our dream of an efficient, caring and equitable healthcare provision seems to have slipped through our fingers like sand.  Yet people still clap.

Do we want an NHS run for profit of a few but funded by taxpayers, or an NHS run for the many but funded by taxpayers?  A trick question.

The NHS has always had ‘private’ at its core.  The knife of corruption pierced its heart of the NHS at conception, when self-employed professionals held the service to ransom, then posing as public employees, but earning large sums treating private patients.

Then there are the drug companies using their financial muscle to lobby the Government and bribe healthcare professionals.  This national scandal has been swept under the carpet by successive governments, with politicians taking paid positions within the Healthcare industry.

Doctors involved in assessing which drugs should be prescribed to NHS patients are receiving up to £100,000 per year from pharmaceutical companies. 

The Telegraph online by Edward Malnick June 2016

The NHS, as the biggest employer in the UK, is a feeding ground for greed.  The only ownership we have is in paying the bills, and we clap.

But many still accept this situation lying down.

The vested interests have led to inefficiencies and misappropriations in ‘our’ NHS.  The public are in denial and practicing self-deception.  If eyes are open we see that reform is desperately needed.   The PHE whose mission is “to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities”, has been an utter failure, unable to fulfil its mission.  The bizarre handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has demonstrated that a complete rethink is needed.

We must understand our environment, and how we live in it.

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable industries in the history of the world

Steven S. Sharfstein M.D.  2005

Are some of the drugs produced the answer to good health?

Who pays these academics salaries?  Are medical scientists practicing engineering, or are they engineers, practicing medical science?  Do they want to ‘fix’ nature or respect nature? A difficult question.

We know that research and advancements in science are necessary, but we should be aware, not just of what science can do for us, but also of what science can do ‘to’ us.

It can be argued that healthcare is losing its way.

With mental health, counselling and ‘hands on’ treatment is often needed. The Pharmaceutical companies have significantly reduced their investment in this sector.  Litigation against the NHS has skyrocketed.  The NHS paid out £2.8 billion for clinical negligence in year 2018/19.  And still we clap.

The performance of the NHS over at least the last ten years has been poor.

What can be done to correct the situation?

Let’s be controversial.

Pharmaceutical giants must be excluded from decision making.  They are beholden to their shareholders.  To have commercial enterprises dictating the agenda through lobbying or price control is unacceptable.  Patents must be challenged, or alternatives found.

When companies are going out into jungles and patenting nature, a line has to be drawn.  This action will support many small independent research companies.  The research work done in Universities must benefit the public not big pharmaceutical companies.  AI will bring costs down and alternative medications will proliferate.

Protect health care from political dabbling and incompetent and costly quangos.

Any employee of the NHS must be stopped from providing private practice on the back of their NHS income, using NHS facilities to profit themselves at the public’s cost.  One cannot serve two masters.  If the NHS is to succeed then we must at least have honesty and integrity.

This fundamental principle was cowardly ducked by the Labour Party.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other, Ye cannot serve God and mammon.                                         

Mathew 6:24

What happened to those high morals and ethics as epitomised in the Hippocratic Oath.

But then the NHS will survive.  People with a belief will put up with anything.  Which is worse, the corrupt, inefficient NHS, or those who tolerate and allow the status quo?

This Covid-19 outbreak has shown up a number of existing inadequacies in our health service, and exposed new ones.  Corruption, funding, PHE inadequacies, strategic fragmentation, a breakdown of the dubious private-public partnership, political and scientific incompetence, and scaremongering.   The balance between personal freedoms and social responsibility has been upset.  And still we clap.

We hope another important understanding will come from this, the ability of humans to work with nature, not try and beat nature.  It’s not about money.  A change in attitude is the air.

A revolution is coming in healthcare, and there may be trouble ahead, but while there’s moonlight, and music, love and romance….

 

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