Scanning this morning’s newspaper, one headline regarding the NHS was hard to miss.
The article was prompted by Sir David Nicholson’s announcement that he plans to retire as Chief Executive of NHS England and it also related dire warnings from senior clinicians regarding the state of Accident and Emergency Services.
Leaving aside the question of Sir David, the loading on A & E, is hardly a surprise. And I can speak from experience. About two years ago, my daughter suddenly became very ill, one evening. I did all the right things and called NHS Direct. Eventually, someone called me back and determined, over the phone, that my child had a virus and that a doctor’s visit was not required. 48 hours later, I was being told by a GP that my daughter’s symptoms were so bad that pneumonia was imminent. At that point, I decided that I would never again allow someone in a call centre to tell me what was wrong with my child. And what options are available out of hours? Your nearest A & E department.
So where will it all end? As services are continually, shifted and amalgamated to try and save cost, perhaps now is the time for a referendum on the NHS. What do we want? What are we prepared to pay for? We need it, we love it and we know it needs to change, but let us all have a say in it’s future.