Sunday, March 04, 2012

Health and Social Care

In recent months this topic has come up in news bulletins, in political debate and in conversations more than any other.  It's something that affects everyone in some way, something that costs a lot of public money as well as private investment for many, and something that we seem unable to agree on changing in any way.
Most people agree that "something must be done" about the spiralling cost of care and medicine as our population grows and ages.  What we can't agree on is just what that something is.
As a relative and as a patient I've seen some of the best of our National Health Service and our care system.  But I've also seen some of the worst.  So I don't view it through rose-tinted glasses, and I don't believe it's just about more money or government targets.
I read the current debates around the bill going through Parliament and find myself agreeing first with one person then with another - has enough been done to the original bill to make it acceptable as a way forward for the Health service in this country?  Yes....No...Maybe!  Unfortunately I shan't be at Gateshead next weekend to hear the debates first hand.  But in Stockton I am part of the Health & Wellbeing Partnership, representing the people of Yarm, Eaglescliffe, Long Newton and the surrounding villages.  I hear professionals and voluntary workers in a number of fields working together to try to join up their services and their thinking in a way that will use resources effectively for the good of the people of the borough.  And through being part of that body I realise that a return to the systems of a year ago, prior to the publication of the controversial bill, is never going to happen.  Things have moved on, largely in anticipation of the way they'll be expected to move if the bill becomes law, but also partly because people recognised that this was a good thing to do - working together to agree what's necessary and then what's desirable and then working together to deliver those aims.
So whatever happens to the bill in its remaining time in Parliament I'd like to see one outcome - fewer publicity seeking soundbites from national politicians and more help and encouragement to local people to sort out what's important to them and how to deliver it.
And on the subject of pressures in the Care system and dignity for all, I can do no better than recommend reading Ruth Bright on the subject.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the coalition's poll tax or ID card moment, everyone can see it's a bad idea but they've backed it for so long they can't admit they're wrong.
In 30 years in the NHS I can't recall a policy that united all the professional bodies like this has, all against it.
Where is your evidence that the changes can't be reversed?
Competition in the NHS doesn't work, you end up with wasteful duplication and organisations being uncooperative, joined up healthcare needs cooperation.
The whole concept that GP's know best what healthcare is needed for the population is flawed, they're General Practitioners, explain to me how they know where the priorities should lie between paediatrics, radiotherapy, orthopaedics?
Private healthcare companies will cherry pick those services they can earn the most money from, leave the difficult stuff to the NHS and walk away from any problems. PIP breast implants is a good example of this.
You need to ask how the local services that have been tendered out are going, shouldn't be difficult to find what a disaster they are. If you need na more clues just ask on your blog I'll point you in the right direction.