In 1988 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London described itself as: "An ace caff, with quite a nice museum attached." Today we seemed to have reached the point where the NHS would describe itself as “a great Health Service, with quite a nice country attached”.
Although there was some reason for the early panic about overwhelming health care this concern has now been extended by some of the more vociferous scientific advisors to a warning that a winter flu epidemic could overwhelm the NHS, so consequently we must all continue to live under strict regulations. Of course this begs the question of whether the NHS exists to protect our health, or whether the country exists to protect the NHS.
Unfortunately, rather as is the case with Remainers worshipping at the shrine of Brussels, many people treat the NHS as some sort secular religion, which must not be criticised, and whose demands for more and more resources must be met, whatever the cost.
The reality is somewhat different.
I yield to no one in my respect and admiration for the front line workers in the NHS, nor in my gratitude to them. However, as I, and others, including many doctors and nurses, have pointed out, the effectiveness of the NHS has been undermined by asinine changes made in the past few decades.
The ever expanding NHS bureaucracy, with its ridiculous number of so called managers, has absorbed a vast number of resources, which should have been utilised to improve front line services, without in any way helping patients. These pen pushers are absurdly overpaid, and overstaffed, resulting in the creation of pointless levels of administration. One nurse of my acquaintance tells me that she once had one level of management above her, which has become seven, the vast majority of whom do nothing but pass paper up and down to each other.
Another front line worker told me that, while they were constantly being told that money was short, Human Resources opened a suite of offices, which they could use for their endless, and fruitless meetings.
In my years as chairman of our office union, I encountered this non profession of HR, which converted personnel departments, who existed to assist staff, into an arm of management which rode roughshod over them, at the same time justifying their own existence by producing countless absurd policies which actually subverted the efficiency of the organisations involved.
The malignant effect of all this has been thrown into sharp relief by the fact that retired medical professionals had their applications to help out with vaccinations refused on the bureaucratic grounds that they may not have attended nonsensical courses on diversity, or even fire training. Bureaucrats put their preposterous concerns ahead of effective action. Many of these schemes arose because of the bureaucratic regulations emanating from Brussels, so are now no longer relevant.
In addition, in the past, nursing was a vocation, recruiting from a wide spectrum of society, yet now we are told that one must be a graduate to be employed. This is as ridiculous as is the need for policeman to have degrees. Fifty years ago a large number of professions were staffed by those who learnt through apprenticeships, and on the job training, yet now those who do not attend university are regarded as unfit for the very same jobs. When I was last in hospital in 1955 they were run efficiently by the matron and the ward sisters, but now they groan under the weight of useless jumped up clerks, while willing and capable nurses are lost due to unreasonable demands that they attend university.
We are all aware of the failures in basic hygiene in hospitals, which have led to the deaths, or serious illness of many people. One friend of mine went through six years of active service in the war without a scratch, but died a couple of years ago, when he caught MRSA in a ward, although he was otherwise recovering well. The manner in which fundamental tasks, such as cleaning wards, has been outsourced, has replaced those who were direct employees, taking a pride in their work, with frequently exploited casual staff, who are expected to do the minimum necessary for their employer to justify their fees.
I have personal experience of health care in Switzerland, which was exemplary, while I know from friends that the French system is also very efficient, and easy to access. No one wants the American system, where one’s treatment is based almost solely on one’s ability to pay. but the aforementioned systems are available on a sensible insurance basis, without excluding the poorest citizens.
To even venture the opinion that something is rotten in this particular State of Denmark is to invite opprobrium, but we cannot go on pouring more and more money into something that is not able to deliver. It is time that the whole NHS was reformed to meet the requirements of the 21st Century. However, given that the Left regard the organisation as a sacred cow, and that the Conservatives lack the courage to take action, no doubt it will continue just as before.