The Blog

We Need to Be Careful Who We Are Blaming for the Current State of the NHS

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.

Being a General Practitioner in the NHS is a pretty intense kind of demanding. Some feel they just aren't being paid enough for the staggering amount of work they do; or for the work they just simply can't do, because there is not enough time to if you want to maintain things like your own ability to eat, breath, sleep and generally keep existing never mind adequate levels of mental health.

It is the same for many Health-Care Assistants, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Radiologists, Occupational Therapists and the many practising NHS students. Undeniably, it is tough to be in the NHS workforce right now. Each profession is relentlessly pouring so much of themselves into a system that cares only that they keep on going - no matter how muchstress they are under, number of patients under their care or the increasing quantity of frustrating situations they have to work in.

There is a long-standing pattern of blame culture around the NHS, both on social media and in the press. It is something we should be very wary of. Whether the fault lies with nurses who keep quitting or people who arrive to A&E drunk, the target changes daily. On the Wards, targets and time pressures only encourage these attitudes and frequently staff and patients seem to be pitted against each other.

Image credit KONP

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. For the same Reason it's important we don't put doctors and politicians on a pedestal. There is a voice missing in this fight and it's the voice of people whose lives are at risk in a further privatised NHS. Not just their salaries.

And so it is crucial we don't take turns pointing the finger at one another while this institution falls apart around us; if we do so, we are going to miss our chance to save the NHS, and save the lives that a further-privatised NHS will cost us.

Politicians are the ones who have banked on us turning on each other and they are the ones profiting from us doing exactly that. They want us to be bickering amongst ourselves and why wouldn't they? They, with what appears to be a stark disregard for the 'democratic' process, passed bills to law that absolutely absolve the government of a duty to provide free universal healthcare to all. Gone now is the state mandated principle that health care should be equally available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their placement within our archaic class system and the differing levels of accessibility within them. In fact, only the minority that can afford expensive private health premiums will be able access quality health care.

The way Health-Care is commissioned has now completely changed. Legal pressures to choose the 'best value' service have put cash savings way above clinical decision making on the list of commissioning priorities. NHS-allocated money is being poured into the pockets of private health companies. 'Profits over people' could barely be more applicable as a slogan. A market-based NHS simply will not work.

NHS reforms are extensive and hard to understand, I can't mention them all here (these peopledefinitelycould) but it is clear to see we have been handed back a health care system stripped of its core human values, dressed up as "patient centred care". They say they are "simplifying and modernising the NHS" It feels as though opposition to these plans are seen as pure ideological nonsense, and we must save the money. But the evidence points to privatisation increasing costs, not cutting them. Meanwhile, an NHS in chaos is rapidly careering down a path which will leave it with patients who will be increasingly penalised for being both sick and poor. Staff will continue to suffer with stress induced mental illnesses, despite giving all they can to a system that just does not care.

All we need to do is keep adding our voice to the debate, keep ourselves informed, share stories wherever possible to ensure we don't remain in the dark where politicians need us to be, stop ourselves being unknowingly complicit. We cannot let them turn compassion into private profit.

We all know we deserve a health care system that isn't turning on us, so we shall not let it. We can collectively let it be known that we are sick of this. We are all being exploited by people who expect us to be cheerleading for them. Too many people have suffered and too many more will. We will not by keeping quiet nor be complicit in a system that is growing in its capacity for cruelty and inequality.