Why Our Healthcare MUST change!

As months turn into years, I’m despairing at the lack of attention given to our healthcare in general. But of course, cancer in particular. Naturally, a lot will be laid at the door of covid, rightly so! But behind that is the complete contempt that has been shown by our Government and healthcare ‘leadership.’ From all levels, our lack of leaders has proved to be our undoing. We all know that our Government is totally focussed on saving themselves through continuing publicity storms. With shocking cases of ineptitude and scandal coming out almost daily.

Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid. "Of course they believe us Boris!"
Of course they believe us Boris!

Below them are the NHS, currently dealing with covid and almost nothing else. The leadership in this sector again is weak. Most of those people are basically ‘puppets,’ waiting for state honours and fat pensions. Never daring to suggest anything radical or innovate. Well described to me as ‘dead wood.’ Inside the system I hear terrible stories. More and more staff wanting to go public about the bullying culture that now exists. Those that do, being unduly pressured making their lives unbearable. How can we continue in this way?

In any business if the employees are not happy, nor will the customers be. Now we are facing the perfect storm. Constant pressures on staff for years to come, and many unhappy patients, with their treatment becoming further delayed. I would now like to remind you, that even prior to covid, our system could best be described as adequate. Certainly for those of us with complex and long term conditions. But it really doesn’t have to be this way!

The NHS has developed a very closed and protective culture. Instead of embracing real change it does all it can to continue living in the past. Our progress has not even increased with the pace of technology. My international experience is showing me how far we are behind most other countries in the world. I’m not even bringing money into this discussion. This really is a matter of attitude. Management in the sector is not up to the standard at all. How can the ‘troops’ work properly without getting the help they need?

It is always interesting to see how stagnant the leadership pool really is. Many going from the two largest cancer charities into the NHS and back again. The ever spinning roundabout! Where can the new ideas come from? How many wonderful people managers are there? Not just promoted for years of service. Of course these are general statements but always based on my own experiences.

We will not make progress by talking about past mistakes. We must learn from them and push forward. This work was always coming, but it has to be now!! Almost every aspect of our life is changing and we are becoming good at adapting to new ways of working. No Health Secretary in recent years has had the hutzpah to do anything positive. Only make continual cuts. Hence we arrive to the service we have now.

What business will be going back to working the way it was before lockdown? Hardly any I would imagine. Some will of course go to the wall as the way we live our lives changes. Many will adapt, innovate and become stronger. Change is not always a bad thing, but frequent change can become very counter productive.

Very unhappy NHS staff marching
Very unhappy NHS staff.

There is NOTHING more important than the health of the nation. Currently we are a very sick one. Rolling from one crisis to another. This is obviously unsustainable in the long term. If we want services to be where and when we need them, the system and culture must adapt. If we want better facilities we must pay for them, one way or the other. Naturally nobody wants to see the chaos that is called private healthcare. Please talk to my friends in the US about that for cancer.

We will all have to be proactive and take responsibility for our health personally, and as a nation. If this lack of leadership continues the NHS will collapse like a dilapidated house. Then eventually become privatised. Many fear that this might be the goal of this Government? All I know is that politics is a massive obstruction to progress. More importantly to the health of our nation.

As always these are my own opinions based on personal experience. Please feel free to share your own below.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Chris, as I understand it, my local hospital (Trust) fairly recently employed around 14 new staff – salaries in the region of £70K p/a – to walk around with a clipboard & note down any maintenance jobs they consider need doing. Details of these “jobs” are then forwarded to hospital maintenance staff – whose contracts of employment were all moved to a French private contractor some years ago instead of remaining with the Trust – in the hope that a) the “jobs” are the responsibility of the maintenance contractor and b) there will be so many “jobs” to be done they won’t be completed in the allotted time and the Trust can then claim money from the maintenance contractor for failing to complete work within a given deadline. This is how / where money is being spent on a daily basis within the NHS while patients die needlessly. As the number of deaths increase from anything non-Covid, the NHS will, presumably, be declared unfit for purpose & sold off / privatised. The old & sick will always be expendable where profit comes first. Deb X

    • Hiya Deb,

      Wow, that’s a very disappointing story to hear! There is such an incredible amount of politics involved in our NHS, and there is no doubt that it needs a good shake up. Watching Jeremy Hunt and Sir Simon Stevens recently, they both look incredibly relaxed after their forays with our health service. I cannot see anybody capable of managing the change required to bring things into the current age.

      Continuing in this direction for much longer I can only see the system break up and become privatised completely. I personally believe that this is a deliberate ploy. What I do know is that in the next few years there will be much more suffering and increasing deaths due to this current policy. We are supposed to have a National Health Service for all, which we no longer have.

      Very best as always Deb XX

  2. Hi Chris – Just a quick thank you for your blog. Sometimes because of understandable frustration & anger the voices shouting for people affected by cancer don’t break through. Its really good to hear a reasoned, passionate voice Speaking up, I really hope you get some traction with the media to get the message across, I do fear that the covid is just obliterating all other messages at the moment.
    Would really like some creative thinking like investment in clinical cancer staff so resources can be used 24 hrs. a day 7 days a week so people can be seen QUICKLY, and GPs to open their doors or have a service available at the hospital for anyone with signs or symptoms to be seen quickly.

    • Hi David, thanks so much for your kind comments. I try to be constructive with everything I share. We all need a better system than we currently have. It is very much possible without spending a mountain of cash too. The things you mention must be part of the future of course. Your observations are spot on!

  3. I too have noticed a big difference in the way our Health Service (in Wales) as we knew it, is going down. I had cancer in 2011 and you were in those days seen to within 2 weeks and treatment started soon after. There were many people in the same position as me fantastic Staff and treatment. I now come to 2019 having to wait weeks to be looked at by GP’s more weeks to get hospital attention Staff so different my impression now is ” it’s a job” not a calling. My husband had prostate cancer what a difference for him. At least I had him home with Palliative care nurses who were fantastic involved me and cried with me when he died, that was the “old way”. Afraid its not only the government at fault its the whole way of right down to everyone to take away the society of today’s thinking of its me its me, never mind you. Don’t get me wrong I am not bitter. And I thank God every day that we do not go back to just over 70yrs ago and there was no NHS, just hope we don’t go back to those days.

    • Hi Georgine,

      It’s so lovely to hear from you. Healthcare in Wales has always been more challenging than the rest of the UK, so what you are telling me comes as no surprise. Cancer care is now becoming extremely difficult, particularly for people entering the system in recent times. I also feel equally sad for the staff on the frontline. They have been under constant pressure for at least 18 months. With no sign of that stopping either. Even if our covid work stops there are so many people on the waiting list to have more routine work done.

      I’m so pleased that you both got your wish re your husbands death. I was so upset to hear that news.

      Now is the time we need to fight for our NHS, but many things about it must change. We must all have a fair opportunity to live our best life. Currently that is not the case, with everything else being left, to focus entirely on covid.

      Our very best to you Georgine and stay safe, Chris

    • Thank you Georgine! There are a lot of us working away behind the scenes to do what we can to improve things. As you know we have an incredible cancer community. None of us are alone in these difficult times XX

Leave a Reply