Total Health Inequality In Our NHS

Firstly I have to admit that writing anything criticising our incredible National Health Service really hurts me! They have fixed us up as best they can, and delivered our children too. In my instance they have saved mine and my wife’s lives and continue to keep me alive against all odds. The incredible frontline staff have been there when we needed them most. This was a great ‘British Institution,’ and haven’t we been so proud of it? Nobody wants to see it fail, unless you believe the conspiracy theory about politicians wanting to sell it off.

But it has been failing for some time, even pre-covid. So stretched for most of the time, and panicking every time winter arrived, as flu etc would dominate. Frequently long waiting lists even for routine operations. Cancer care barely average, compared with other countries across the globe. All of this we had begun to accept. “Why could we expect better from a public system,” “the staff are all doing their best.” Now doubt at all that the staff are working incredibly hard, too hard in most cases. Why should these people work in such continuing stressful environments? It feels from both sides that this was the new normal.

Basic PPE
Basic PPE

Then came the pandemic and the truth is found. Drastically underprepared with little stock of PPE despite warnings in 2016. Of course the staff and buildings were quickly at breaking point. Drastically searching the world for protective clothing at the last minute. Weak leadership from Government and NHS England leading quickly to a decision that our entire Health Service must focus totally on covid. It became challenging to see a GP even with a tele appointment, and hospitals wanted everyone to stay away due to the virus risk. It doesn’t take a genius to establish how this policy would go in the longer term. But the politicians persisted with “protect the NHS” and “we are being guided by the science.”

The massive positive, and best decision in these 18 months is the vaccine rollout. With a large percentage of our nation now better protected to cope with any further outbreaks. Plus incredibly we still have our NHS. Except we don’t really! Just a pale imitation of what we once remember of that great institution. It is still tricky to get a face to face with our GPs. Primary care beginning also to show the cracks of under resourcing, challenging working conditions and poor morale. Less people seeing this as an attractive career.

All referrals backing up, even the less complicated. As hospitals struggle to find a new way of working that is so desperately required. Cancer patients and others facing earlier deaths due to diagnostic and treatment delays. 5 million + people on waiting lists with no chance of ever getting to the end of that in a timely fashion. Many will die before they receive the treatment they require. Add into the mix the increasing issues of mental health, with such few resources to even help. That must be what the Government want as there is little talk of the general health of the nation? Only the C word, which for the last 18 months has not been cancer.

The NHS is broken
The NHS is broken

The NHS was created to ensure that we ALL get the help we need when we require it. But that is no longer the case. The system is now rationing care! Quite simply it is broken, we can all see that. I would go as far as to say it is not safe for patients or staff currently. It just cannot continue the way it is. As I mentioned earlier weak leadership in the service has led us here. All people in senior roles, agreeing with every Government decision. Waiting for state honours and a fat pension. What really is the point of NHS England? Yet another toothless department.

Is this deliberate? Will the service be privatised? Even if we start today we will not see any impactful benefit for at least 5-10 years. For many major diseases our survival and quality of life rates won’t even be in the top 50 in the world. Not the wonderful care that everyone around the world associates with our NHS. Why on earth do we continue to ignore the major killers in this country? Where are Sage on this issue? What are the scientists saying?

In this case the blame culture is useless, all politicians involved over the last few decades are to blame, but we are where we are. Like every other industry we must find more impactful ways of working. Creating a working environment without fear. Let the staff engage in the way things are run. Like most other businesses. Not call them whistle blowers when they speak out. We must admit the problem before we can solve it. Continuing as we are will put the entire health of our country at risk for very many years in the future. There is no quick fix, but we must make change now before it’s too late.

Could UK health be better without the NHS? Watch this video and you decide!

As always these are my personal opinions based on my own experiences and judgements. Feel free to share your own below.

6 Comments

  1. Brilliant picture of a tragic loss of a great service provided once by our NHS. You make a vital point Chis about waiting lists and “Many will die before they receive the treatment they require”. This is the sad reality that cancer patients face and does not sit well with their recovery and hope for the future of living and working with cancer. As you said before, Politicians and the cancer industry seem to have gone to ground. There are only a minority.of voices speaking on behalf of cancer patients. Thanks Chris for your well written and timely words which spur us on. Dianne

    • Hi Dianne,

      Thanks so much for your kind words and continuous support. I am already seeing people with cancer needing surgery being put on an alternative regime due to lacking theatre time. Our health is now becoming very much a lottery. So many people are now very late in presentation or delayed in treatment meaning indeed, many more unnecessary deaths.

      Even with the less complex treatment like hips and knees there are again massive delays. The quality of life for these people getting worse daily. It is not only a challenging environment for many patients, but also for the staff! They have been under constant pressure for several years working in dreadful conditions. It is no good just putting more money into it. It will certainly just break unless we look at improving the way things work across the board.

      With many of the ways of working so old and against innovation our NHS is barely making the most of new technology. It is failing in so many areas.

      Very best as always, Chris

  2. Totally agree Chris, I too owe a great personal health debt to the NHS and without the care I’ve received over the last four year I may not be alive, or would I? A cancer diagnosis is delivered in the shape of a death threat. We feel obliged to be be humble about the cancer treatment we’re going to receive or not receive, an oncologist has the same decision making responsibilities as God. My cancer diagnosis and the personal experience I’ve had both pre and post pandemic is and was a let down in so many ways, destroyed my mental health and rendered me a recluse due to errors in the administration of my treatment. If only had I known at the age of 16, when I started to contribute to the system, that at the age of 46, I’d be diagnosed with Cancer, and the treatments would be based on the cheapest options and rationed from one county to another, also would depend on, if you have a good rapport with your hospital cancer care team, how good their administration was, the actual self funding and being reliant on Charitable donations to have a potential of surviving cancer. It’s shocking to find out that you’ve been mis sold your healthcare by some notion that you was sold back in early teens that your contributions would help the whole of the public domain in sickness and poor health. Damn sure that if they’d said except in the following circumstances ; a cancer diagnosis or other terminal illness these contributions will not fully compensate and without a separate health insurance taken alongside the required national contributions; ie similar to any insurance policy they offer add ons to the policy and must state what they do and don’t cover, none of my employers have ever sat me to one side and said these contributions we give the government from the money you’ve earned before your paid anything for your hard work will not pay for cancer treatment through the NHS and we suggest you take out additional cover as the treatments offered will be rationed and rely mostly on charities and volunteers to deliver funds and treatments. That wasn’t ever said to me, and for 30 years I’ve been misled and letdown on a level which hurts every day, knowing there’s treatments out there that could save so many lives, including my own.
    Thank you for your honesty and never giving up, admire you greatly and appreciate everything you’ve done and are doing, best wishes.
    Diana xxx

    • Hi Diana,

      Wow, this is an incredible powerful piece, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. You’ve captured exactly all the points I wanted to mention in my piece. What we were sold is certainly not what we have been getting for quite some time. Particularly with cancer. All of us including most clinicians are also sick that there are many treatments out there that they cannot offer to their patients. Of course there will be a cost, but we are not given the full story at all. Also for those that might benefit from a clinical trial there is such little information available.

      So few people at the top of healthcare and in Government seem even interested in the very quick demise of the health service and how poor our outcomes are compared to many around the world. But are happy to take the honours and fat pensions as they deliver failure, year after year.

      What is happening now is a travesty against the people in our country, as the sick get sicker and are unable to push back. Why should they? The NHS is there to protect them, not kill them with delays.

      Thank you also for your kind words. I cannot and will not watch on whilst this is happening. I will continue to make a nuisance of myself until things are put right. My children and grandchildren deserve so much better.

      Big love, Chris XX

  3. Dear Chris,
    Very well expressed article… sadly so much truth within it. Why would the government run such a great service into the ground as it is doing? Why are we not taking care of the staff that have been stretched beyond human limits? Nothing makes sense. As you so rightly said what has happened to caring for the nation?! Prevention no longer exists, it’s boiling down to survival of the fittest…. call me a conspiracists but from where I’m sitting thats the only logical response I can find to make an sense of the situation. We are not being given the truth. The NHS has been being driven into the ground for years…why? Why were we told that the covid vaccine was the answer to this pandemic and then further lock down, variants, and boasters. Fear… we are being controlled by fear. I’m sorry I should not be ranting but I’m angry…I’m tired of the lies and the lack of care and compassion… the uncertainty of our future lies within a small group of people who control the drug companies for which we are falling into being forever reliant!
    Too much for a Monday morning. I am glad to read your article and the questions you pose are so very important!
    All best wishes to you Chris,
    Tricia

    • Hi Tricia

      Thank you for sharing your own thoughts and experiences. I used to laugh at the conspiracy theories when I first started doing this work. But no longer! As you say, it has been lies and more lies about our NHS for many years. Not helpful when so many of us still believe that we will always get the best possible treatment at the right time. Sadly, so far from the truth!

      We have been teetering for many years and covid has been the straw breaking the camels back. The entire system is no longer fit for purpose for either staff or patients. Just pouring money into the same broken system will be like pouring it down the drain. There must be a massive rethink and quickly.

      One of my biggest worries is the total lack of leadership throughout the health service and Government. Where are they now when required? Who will lead us out of this mess? Is this all leading to privatisation? Monday or not it is such an important subject!

      Much appreciate your kind words too, Chris

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