In many respects the "fully engaged" patient has arrived. Yet progress towards engagement has taken place at the margins of the NHS, rather than being its core business. If the NHS is to deliver the savings it needs, it must find a better way to tap into this human resource.
There are thousands of recently retired or soon to retire GPs, mainly doing so before 65 years of age, who, like myself, still enjoy clinical medicine but can't be bothered with all the rest of the guff clogging up primary care.
I have worked in A&E, dealing with life and death every day. I never felt like this. I have worked in paediatrics and child safeguarding, coping with desperately sick and abused children. I never felt like this. I have delivered babies, been there when a stillbirth happens, tried in vain to resuscitate a child who did not have a chance at life while their parents looked on. I never felt like this. I have cared for stroke patients, cancer patients, sat and held hands as some died. I never felt like this. I have failed in this, my chosen career... I suddenly realised I couldn't carry on. Either I left, and made a new start caring for patients in a different way. Or I left full stop and was no longer a GP.
Public belief in the NHS has completely disintegrated. It has let people down unforgivably. This is not something we can ignore, on the contrary, listening to each other is now more important than ever.
Labour have a catastrophic track record on the NHS, an indefensible record, they do not have serious solutions to the problems the NHS of today faces, let's face it they created so many of them and remain in blissful denial.
It would appear that social care remains a poor relation of the NHS, lacking both political clout and financial resources. It doesn't need to be that way. Let's reframe social care as a universal public service: social care services available for all people who will inevitably need them at some point in their lives
As long as the public continues to accept the assurances of the rich that we have to suffer so that they don't have to, the bitterness created will continue to create divisions between ethnic and religious communities that should be working together to destroy zero hour contracts and ensure proper funding for the NHS.
The most offensive aspect of Nigel Farage's views is the fact they are rooted in the dehumanisation of some of the most vulnerable people in society... The NHS stands as the very antithesis of the worldview promoted by Nigel Farage. It could not function without immigration and therefore an attack on the those from outwith the UK who help to ensure it remains the glowing testament to social and human solidarity it has been for generations, this is an attack on all of us.
It is difficult to know whether novelty sock puppet Nigel Farage thinks he and his squinty-eyed troop of yokels have really become a force in UK politics or if he is in fact a fully paid-up stooge of a vast conspiracy of right-wing Tories who communicate via secret messages in the weave of their tweed that only they can understand.
From Stockton South, to Rochester and Strood, voters across the political spectrum are united in the belief that it's wrong for the NHS to be part of an American trade deal. It's time for the Prime Minister to listen. Britain won't be fooled by vague assurances over the NHS. The only way to ensure our NHS is protected from this trade deal is to remove it from these talks entirely. It's time for the Prime Minister to show some backbone. Cameron must use his veto and exempt the NHS from this deal.
The £700million 'winter crisis funding" the Government is throwing at the problem is too little, too late. It is intended to avert political embarrassment in the run up to the election. Sadly it's unlikely to have much impact on the conditions for patients or staff in our A&Es this winter.
This is the reality of a lack of funding for mental health. The over-burdened services, pared down to the bone. There are no beds left, there is little access to counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy... All I have to offer is a listening ear. That, and a tissue.
Labour is still suffering the hangover of the Blair/Mandelson/Brown years, and those voices must be silenced outright over the next 6 months for the sake of the PLP as they seem to be PR and electoral cyanide.
In return for so little power we elect a small group of people who often have no expertise in government to run a country. In no other field of endeavour would we allow someone with no experience to take control of something so important.
On hearing the Coalition speaking about TTIP, one can only conclude that they are unable to understand the legitimate concerns of those that rely on the NHS for their health, and need the rule of law and democracy to protect them. They say 'there's nothing to see here' when we can all see the potential threats to what we cherish.
NHS workers in England - including those at the top of the pay band- will be on the same rate of pay in April 2016 as they were on in April 2013... As unions, we have deliberately tried to take action that would minimise the impact on patients by only having a four- hour stoppage. Yet the underlying message we are getting from the Government's refusal to negotiate a settlement is that when, and until, it impacts on patients they won't take it seriously. So where does this leave us? Do they want us to escalate the action and cause real harm or will they talk to us about a reasonable settlement?