We Must Be Partners In Our Own Healthcare.

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Sometimes it feels like I have been saying the same things for so many years. When I look back through this blog, I can see that I have! My business knowledge and experience, have shown this to be the one major thing, amongst many, that must happen. It really is the only way we can go forward. Of course we now have wonderful technology to help us. But if the foundations aren’t right, all the other resources will be wasted.

Speakers panel at UKIO2023
Speakers panel at UKIO2023

Many months ago, I was asked if I could deliver a presentation at UKIO2023 in Liverpool, which I did last week. It generated an incredible wave of publicity and kept my Twitter full for a couple of days. Speaking live is something I really enjoy. Yet another thing lost during the covid years. The subject was about ‘how the patient experience can be improved in the cancer sector.’ I have always seen my care as a partnership, and so have my clinical team. But it obviously isn’t the same for everyone.

I spoke about my own experiences, and how I felt that things could be improved. After that, I was joined on stage by 2 incredible ladies who are working in the NHS. They also had cancer and wanted to share their experiences of being patients. We opened up to questions, and there were so many members of the audience who wanted to engage, which made for an incredibly positive experience. We were all genuinely interested in each others issues, and how we could make some simple tweaks, to make things better. I’m not talking making massive infrastructure or staffing changes. Just making the system less clunky and more effective for all.

What we must understand, is that wherever we work, we will all be a patient at some stage in our life. It’s not an us and them situation. We are all in this together. It has become obvious that politicians are no longer the right people to be involved with designing any aspects of healthcare. It is just too big a job now, and there is no appropriate expertise there. All we do know, is that they understand how much money is involved. Thus, they seem to have outside interests in privatising healthcare for short term gain. We must not let that happen!

There are of course, different models of private healthcare around the globe. None that I see ideal for the UK. I believe that any form, will create even bigger inequalities in society, than we are already facing. The only people that will win from privatisation, are the people with money invested in that sector, and as always, big pharma. Definitely not the patients. Despite what others might say, there is no more equal system than the NHS at it’s best. Although it hasn’t been that for many years.

A UK hospital waiting room
A UK hospital waiting room

Since the NHS was created, our society has changed beyond all recognition, and of course the service hasn’t worked effectively for us for many years. Numerous reasons why, which many of us have our own opinions. But if the service is going to be future proofed we must involve the customers of it, to be involved in an impactful way. No longer just tokenism.

Is there really a plot by Government to sit back and watch the service fail? Personally, it seems like that. I feel that if they really wanted to improve things, they would have started doing it well before covid. The biggest example I can use here is the record waiting list we now have. In excess of 7.3 million people waiting for treatment. By the time many of those get help, their problem will be a lot worse, and cost more to fix. In many cases with a much worse prognosis. Our service is crumbling by the day. The longer we leave it the infrastructure is decaying, and people leaving are increasing rapidly. Logic tells me that it will be too difficult to come back from that.

This is something that will affect us all, and our families. It is not temporary, like inflation, fuel prices, or even covid. If WE don’t do anything and leave it to the powers that be, it will be 20 years or more before we have a service that works for us. If ever. Our country is so divided with infighting that the NHS will be lost before we know it. Please focus on the real issues, not just the headlines!

As always, these are my personal opinions gained from my daily experiences of being in the healthcare environment. Please feel free to share your own below.

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