The dramatic crisis in the NHS

There is no doubt a real crisis. The videos and articles in the Guardian and Independent by exhausted junior doctors describing a service at breaking point – in London – are probably not faked.

However. It seems that to some extent this crisis has been manufactured. Why, for example, is it only now – nearly one year into a global pandemic that it has occurred to the government to solve the staffing crisis in the Nightingale hospitals by using Army reservists? [1] Even without this they have had months in which to train auxiliary nurses or bring them in from other countries. Another benefit of the Nightingale hospital system (temporary field hospitals) is that these hospitals can be dedicated to Covid-19 patients, thus keeping them out of general hospitals where they are infecting everyone else. Without belittling the enormous skills which both nurses and medics have – once you focus on one condition (Covid-19) then in many cases the treatment becomes predictable and routine. In many cases basic care could be administered by supervised auxiliary nurses carrying out a limited and specific set of procedures. There is no rational reason why there is not capacity to treat thousands of patients in temporary field hospitals.

There are shortages of oxygen. But they have had 10 months to stockpile oxygen. As far as I know there has not been any kind of a block preventing them buying in more oxygen. (Money can’t be the problem; they can blow £22 billion with mostly private companies on a Testing and Tracing system which doesn’t work. [2]).

It looks like the crisis in the NHS is the result of an avoidable failure to plan and to expand capacity. I would guess that this is the result of standard local authority thinking; the ‘closed shop’. They want to be the only provider and actively block more creative solutions which would solve the problem (in this case capacity). They (Public Health England) are probably delighted with this drama. It is created drama to put the NHS centre stage and teach the public how important it is.

Notes

  1. https://twnews.co.uk/gb-news/military-reserves-will-help-staff-london-nightingale-hospital
  2. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-testing-idUKKBN2832FL

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer