We are in a period of time where everything around us is changing, or has changed. Covid has forced us to think differently about the way we live our lives now. What is important to us and what isn’t. This is not before time either! Many of the things we were doing before just weren’t sustainable. We continued with them because nobody really likes change. It provides challenges on a massive scale, and shows us who wasn’t doing their jobs effectively. It can also cost a lot of money and change lives. Not always positively.
I’m very definitely not a lover of politicians, so I won’t be talking in this piece about what should have been done when, who is to blame etc. Just where we find ourselves now, not why! Almost every business is changing the way it works since the pandemic started. Not just through necessity but innovation too. Hopefully working with employees to find a new way forward that works for all. Change or die is what we say in the business world. I believe we are at that stage now.
So that brings me to healthcare and the NHS. A world known only too well for caution and delays. Whilst technology is taking us to places we could have only dreamed of just a few years ago. We are still trying to get the phones answered and accurate appointment letters! I don’t blame the incredible people that work on the front line. But the ancient systems, implemented by many over paid and under qualified managers. With staff that want to talk about improving things, classed as whistle-blowers. Very quickly developing a shocking ‘fear culture’ at work.
During Covid, decisions were made to focus almost entirely on the virus and leave any work on the countries biggest killers. Heart disease, cancer and dementia. Scarcely believable, but that is the reality! Leaving us with waiting lists so long we have never before seen the like of. Quality of life just dreadful for many, and unnecessary early deaths from late diagnosis or inability to obtain the necessary treatment.
But let’s remember, pre-covid. Our systems were really at capacity for most of the year, and our cancer survival rates struggling to keep up with similar countries. Hardly what we would describe as success. Now the Government want to pour billions more into it. Of course they do! That is the answer to all ills, throw more money at it and keep repeating what you have done. Who in their right minds would throw more money into a failing system? I think we know the answer to that. The same one we hear across all Government departments.
The system is now broken. Not just for patients but as importantly, for staff too. Let’s be really honest here, I’m not convinced that the NHS is a safe place for any of us currently. Nobody would say that of course, because what alternative do we have? “Save the NHS” we have heard, but what service do we have left now? Nothing like anything we need. Now is the time to make significant changes, there will be no better opportunity!
I am hearing so much talk now, about how many areas that are failing and why we must change. But worryingly I see NOBODY AT ALL in any senior position who seems interested in doing anything. All quite happy to sit around waiting for their golden pension. We need innovation, and open minds. Not a defensive culture looking to shield their jobs from change. All I hear are reasons not to do anything. A real fear of change.
The current ways of working are archaic and not fit for purpose. Of course we need more staff and finances, but not to go into this broken system. Give staff the pride and resources to enable them to do their job effectively. Not force them to work in an ‘Orwellian system’ in fear. Proper breaks and emotional support are places to start.
Of course the NHS is a business, and it has to run in an effective manner. We can no longer continue to pour money into this massive black hole. No other business would be run like this. Most of the top people would be out of work quickly in the private world. Not just moved around to fail in another part of the service. These department are more concerned with self-preservation not change. Even recently I have had conversations with senior staff who are finding no appetite for meaningful change from within. The culture is rotten and self-serving in most instances.
My concern is that I see nobody capable of doing this work. Politicians definitely not, and NHS England are just the puppets of Government. So whilst the painful decisions are left on the back burner, more staff will continue to leave the service and we will become sicker as a nation. With healthcare itself being so fragmented, there is no single voice speaking. The upcoming NHS tax will be totally pointless if we cannot find someone who will drive change in a timely and effective way.
As always these are my personal views based on my own experiences, please feel free to share your own below. Thank you.