The NHS and the Boom Generation
The NHS came into being in July 1948 following a bill through Parliament by the Labour Party in 1946. Now I only came into being in 1948 and became interested in General Elections with the one in 1964. There have been quite a lot of elections since 1964 and I cannot remember one of them where the Labour Party didn’t use the NHS as a stick to try and intimidate the Conservatives.
We all are hearing now again how the NHS is in crisis but what is the reason? The boom generation born 1945-1955 have been better fed better housed and had better working conditions than generations before them, just like the next generations have had all these things better still. The result is much less illness, especially amongst the rising number of self- employed (who don’t have time for illness) and longevity increasing at an amazing rate.
So I don’t think we can blame the boom generation, and the following generation are incredibly fit and generally have fewer babies. According to the ONS less than 10% of the UK population were actually born overseas but births to foreign born women now account for a quarter of total births. We are being outbred, but that is another story.
State Run Organisations
I believe the fundamental reason for the problems of the health service are the same with every other state run organisation. There is no link between expenditure and income and although the government does give all its nationalised industries strict budgets they are systematically ignored, well knowing that the government has no choice in the end but to make up the shortfall, in effect increasing the budget each year.
The NHS is probably the largest single employer in the country and whenever more money is ploughed into it, as happened under Tony Blair, there is only a fractional increase in performance, which doesn’t last long before it is back to inefficient business as usual.
Management & Efficiency
There isn’t a funding problem with the NHS – there is an overburden of management and administration and non-essential quasi-medical personnel. A couple of years ago I remember reading an article by Brian Otridge about Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Hertfortshire. It had been a constant disaster when run by the NHS so a contract was agreed with Circle Healthcare who would take it over and see if it they could do better.
Circle streamlined the management by laying off managers and admin staff and recruiting more Doctors & Nurses. With Brian’s help they instituted a conveyor belt system for incoming patients to determine their needs for beds, medication, x-rays, MRI, surgery, etc so these factors could directly link to the progress lists for each department.
Within a year the hospital was running like clockwork with patients being processed and released much quicker and without the excessively long waits normally associated with surgery in particular. The Care Quality Commission gave the hospital glowing reports about its functions and it also won a prize, though I can’t remember why.
Within two years the Socialist elite realised that the success of Hinchingbrooke Hospital was likely to become a beacon for efficiency and the success of privately run hospitals. The government or local council that was supposed to match funding with patient throughput reneged on the deal and kept the funding fixed. The result was that Circle was forced to put in all of its agreed £5,000,000 five-year funding into the hospital in one year because of patient costs.
The Care Quality Commission was infiltrated by left wingers who gave the hospital a damning report, claiming all sorts of inadequacies that hadn’t existed even six months previously. There was nowhere for Circle to go but to give up its contract to run the hospital. The left wing had won an important battle to keep the NHS gravy train rolling.
Funding of the NHS
I have done the figures for NHS income back to 1997 and for the period up to 2002 the NHS consumed close to 15% of government income. It rose in 2003 & 2004 and levelled off at around 18.5% till the end of 2008. Then Alistair Darling ramped it up to nearly 23% in 2010 and since then it has remained around 21 & 22% of income.
In a nutshell the NHS is now consuming half as much again of government income from 2009 to 2016 as it did in the period up to 2002. Many hospitals trusts are now apparently in financial crisis because of continued overspending on administration and on temporary staff.
The NHS cannot continue consuming an ever-higher percentage of government income it must be made more efficient. Funding must be fixed at 20% of government income to stop reckless overspending and to stop Labour using the NHS as a weapon.
On 13th July when returning from a dog walk I slipped on the wet grass on the bank leading to my back gate and crashed to the ground on my left side. I got into the house and sat down but I really hurt all down my left side. I was in shock and went to bed early with quite a painful shoulder.
Next day I still had shoulder pain but everything else was slowly getting back to normal so I went to my doctor. She advised that I go to A&E for an x-ray and she kindly questioned me about all the details of my fall and all my details necessary to obtain an x-ray without further form filling.
At A&E reception I handed in the form and the receptionist read through the x-ray request then asked me virtually everything again while she tapped the keyboard of her computer. Then she went over to the printer and collected up about 6 sheets of paper related to my visit before putting them in a folder and sending them round to the nurses and doctors station.
I was told to wait in the corridor leading to the x-ray room. I watched the comings and goings of doctors and nurses at the station with folders and charts and clip-boards. An awful lot of chatting and mingling and not a lot that looked like work.
Only one other patient came and sat opposite me during my hour and a half wait before it was my turn in the x-ray department. Eventually they had their pictures and I went to the waiting area to consult with a doctor.
She arrived within just a few minutes and informed me that nothing was broken and all I needed to do was wear a sling she provided for a few weeks and the shoulder would get better and if there was any problem elevating it or getting back full function then they could arrange for some physiotherapy.
The shoulder hasn’t got better and the symptoms are the same as the day I went for an x-ray. The x-ray was an inadequate test for the shoulder injury, the shoulder sling is not the cure and the physiotherapy is likely to make the problem worse. I have suffered a very common injury of a rotator cuff tear, which will only get better by having the torn ligaments stitched back onto the top of the shoulder bone.
With the NHS in crisis and many procedures cancelled and rescheduled due to the actions of the militant junior doctors I have no trust in the ‘free at the point of service’ NHS anymore. Also, well knowing that I could be in for a really long wait to get surgery I have decided to go private and I have an appointment for this Thursday 15th September. I expect soon to have an MRI scan followed within a short while by a rotator cuff repair by keyhole surgery. Then six months of recuperation …