Public health nursing has its origins in the mid 1800's when the inequalities of the 19th century, and the ruinous health outcomes of the poorest in society, became increasingly apparent. Following the Boer War, in which the Government struggled to find enough young people who were fit enough to recruit as soldiers, infant welfare in particular fast became a priority.
When the practical and economic feasibility of a routine 7-day NHS has been roundly debunked by senior doctors, service providers and analyists, it is only natural to ask how this is going to happen. Maybe, we ought to be thinking a little more naturally ourselves, and prepare for our complementary secretary of state for health to give us a very complementary 7-day routine NHS.
We often hear that some nurses are short of compassion, but for the overwhelming majority of the profession, this is simply not true and there is certainly no evidence that shows that this is the problem underlying current concerns about quality. We do however have ample evidence that they are often short of time, compromising their ability both to show that compassion and to maintain safety. Safe staffing is not an optional extra.
After feeling like an outsider in society, doing this sort of thing is a way of being part of the community and starting to follow a normal way of life. I'd tell anyone to do it, and use it as a positive way to develop themselves whilst supporting a great cause. That's the reason behind it all at the end of the day, and the sense of achievement is second to none.
It boils down to the fact that doctors and nurses do are the point of the NHS. Everything else is just a structure to allow them to do it in the most efficient way. And two of the things that makes it efficient is making it free at point of service, and making the people at the point of service happy, awake, and willing to make the necessary sacrifices their job requires.
Mr Cameron and Mr Hunt - maybe it's time you took responsibility for this horrific mess. Turn to the NHS staff. Turn to the patients and relatives. Apologise, say you got it wrong and let's fix the most important thing this country has. You forget when the NHS is broken, it isn't just about headlines and careers, it's about lives. People are dying because of you. Time to stand up and face the music.
I am a doctor, trained for 10 years, highly qualified. But I wouldn't be half the doctor I am today without nurses. From my first days on the wards as a medical student, with no idea about the human body, nurses have helped me. To a few days ago when I didn't know which dressing was best to put on a leg wound, nurses have helped me. This is a small, unworthy tribute to all the hard working nurses in the NHS. It involves a lot of cups of tea...