The secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, has made a national call for reconciliation with elderly relatives, following news that local councils are funding eight 'lonely funerals' per day. This statement is an excellent example of how out of touch government departments are on the realities of family life and breakdown.
Dear Mr Hunt, thank you so much for your kind speech detailing the new deal for GPs that you announced today. We have been waiting with baited breath to see what you would come up with. Well, you didn't disappoint. You fulfilled all the expectations of vague headline filling promises - 5000 more GPs, 5000 other clinicians. I notice you sneaked Physician Assistants into that last bit with Pharmacists and Nurses, gently implying that they are a proper job with a role in the UK healthcare system. Nicely done. You kept a lid on the time-scale - clever. I'm sure we will have 5000 more GPs over the next 50 years, but it's minor detail.
This kind of language, pillorying the very people working hard to maintain a safe service, is bad enough when it appears in a shoddy piece of journalism, but should simply be beneath a secretary of state. I know I am not the only one who reacted in this way. A great many midwives and people working in and around our profession have been in touch to express similar thoughts.
At the minute many NHS staff are compromising their own health so they can provide basic patient care. Your workforce is exhausted and demoralised, and being told to make £22billion of efficiency savings in a setting already pared to the bone. I see these staff as my patients. When the stress gets too much, they come to me. Usually exhausted, often in tears. I feel like shaking you Mr Cameron. You absolute hypocrite. How dare you?
While the outcome of the general election earlier this month may have come as a surprise to many, the subsequent naming of cabinet ministers has been altogether more predictable. Most of the Conservative incumbents have continued with their briefs, including Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Although the future of the BBC is likely to be the most high profile part of John Whittingdale's portfolio; technology - as a job enabler and creator - will no doubt also be a key priority. Here's my take on the top five tech issues likely to be sitting in the ministerial red box
Monday brought the first announcements on the NHS from David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt since the election - although as John Humphrys rightly pointed out in his interview with Mr Hunt, they have been doing the job for five years already. Greeted with trepidation by NHS staff, the announcements outlined some key policies. Consequently I am disillusioned, sad and angry, in equal measures... I'm no expert Mr Cameron, but I think your business plan is shocking. It is going to fail. It is going to push the NHS to collapse, and we are already teetering dangerously on the brink. Push it into the hands of private providers. Which the cynic in me says is your endgame.
Read the Conservatives' election manifesto and it's crystal clear that they are pledging the £8billion over the course of the next Parliament and not annually by 2020. That is only £8billion cumulatively - far less than the £8billion per year by 2020 that Stevens said was the very minimum needed to adequately fund the NHS.
Increasing NHS funding by £3billion, £8billion, £Xbillion - lovely. But where is it going to be spent? Will it be a repeat of the winter pressures funding where hardly any actually got to struggling A&E departments and GP surgeries? Another round of reorganisation will soak the whole lot up.
What is lacking is a long-term view in the NHS. Policy and decision making, the running of it as an organisation, even what names are given to each part. Every 5 years the NHS gets on the General Election Merry-go-round, and every 5 years, it comes off as something different than it went on as.
Meningococcal B infection has for decades been the single largest cause of bacterial meningitis in the UK, and a leading cause of death and disability in young children. It is feared by parents and health professionals alike because it is difficult to diagnose, strikes without warning and can kill a healthy child within hours. Prevention is key
Not long after 7am last Saturday morning, my grandma had a fall in her bathroom. Her home-help carer, who was visiting at the time, contacted my famil...
There are 10 appointments left for today. There are 10,000 patients. My three colleagues are here all day, but one can't help with the home visits. They have a meeting about commissioning services in the local area. A brilliant idea from the government. But there is no time or money allocated for them to attend this meeting. So that means there are just three of us. At 8.10 there are 20 patients waiting for me to ring them back. At 8.30 there are 53.
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.
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?
Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are scrabbling over the title as the most trusted party on the NHS, and for good reason. Polling has shown that the NHS, always high on the list of issues most important to the electorate, is likely to be priority number one come election day. Don't expect the noise around the NHS to abate anytime soon...